UK Politics

Tory leadership candidates compared: Johnson v Hunt

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt

Conservative MPs Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are going head-to-head to become the next Tory leader and prime minister.

After getting the backing of Tory MPs, they are now waiting to hear whether they have won the support of around 160,000 Conservative Party members in the ballot for the top job.

Voting closes at 17:00 BST with the winner to be announced on Tuesday morning.

But where do the potential new prime ministers stand on key issues?

Here's a quick guide to their positions on Brexit, immigration, tax, spending, health and social care and education.

Compare the candidates' policies

Select a topic...

...and a candidate

Brexit

Jeremy Hunt
Foreign Secretary

- Wants to leave with a deal, but says he would back a no-deal Brexit with "a heavy heart" if necessary. - Will create a new negotiating team to produce an "alternative exit deal" to Theresa May’s plan, and engage with EU leaders over August. - Will present a provisional no-deal Brexit budget in early September and decide by the end of the month if there is a "realistic chance" of a new deal. - If not, will abandon talks and focus on no deal preparations. - Pledges to cover the cost of tariffs imposed on the exports of the farming and fishing industries in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

Boris Johnson
Backbencher

- Vows to leave the EU by the 31 October deadline "come what may", but claims the chance of a no-deal Brexit is a "million to one". - Wants to negotiate a new deal, which will include replacing the Irish backstop with alternative arrangements. - Will not hand over the £39bn divorce settlement with the EU until the UK gets a new deal. - If a new deal is not agreed, will ask the EU for a "standstill period" to negotiate a free trade deal. - Argues a provision under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, known as GATT 24, could be used for the UK to avoid tariffs for the next 10 years, but admits it would need EU sign off. - Promises to support the rural community in a no-deal Brexit scenario with "price support" and "efficiency payments".

Immigration

Jeremy Hunt
Foreign Secretary

- Calls for flexibility on immigration, saying skilled workers should be prioritised. - Wants to review policy of stopping migrants with less than £30,000 coming to the UK to work. - Pledges to scrap the target to reduce net migration to below 100,000.

Boris Johnson
Backbencher

- Wants a new Australian-style points-based system, considering factors such as whether an immigrant has a firm job offer and their ability to speak English. - Will get Migration Advisory Committee to examine the plan. - Wants to block the ability for immigrants to claim benefits immediately after the arrive in the UK. - Opposes the net migration target of under 100,000 a year.

Tax

Jeremy Hunt
Foreign Secretary

- As an entrepreneur, he wants to turn Britain into "the next Silicon Valley... a hub of innovation". - Wants to cut corporation tax to 12.5%. - Wants to raise the point at which workers start paying National Insurance to at least £12,000 a year. - Pledges to scrap business rates for 90% of high street shops. - Will increase the tax-free annual investment allowance from £1m to £5m.

Boris Johnson
Backbencher

- Pledges to raise the tax threshold for the higher rate to £80,000 (rather than the current £50,000). - Wants to raise the point at which workers start paying income tax. - Will review “unhealthy food taxes” such as sugar tax on soft drinks.

Spending

Jeremy Hunt
Foreign Secretary

- Wants to increase defence spending by £15bn over the next five years. - Promises to keep free TV licenses for the over-75s. - Wants to build 1.5 million homes and create a “right to own” scheme for young people. - Backs both HS2 and a third runway at Heathrow.

Boris Johnson
Backbencher

- Pledges more money for public sector workers and wants to increase the National Living Wage. - Will “find the money” to recruit an extra 20,000 police officers by 2022. - Promises to maintain spending 0.7% of GDP on Foreign Aid. - Wants to review the HS2 train project. - Pledges full fibre broadband in every home by 2025.

Health and social care

Jeremy Hunt
Foreign Secretary

- Promises more funding for social care. - Wants to introduce an opt out insurance system to fund future care, similar to the way pensions work. - Wants to target manufacturers of unhealthy foods to make them cut the sugar content. - Mental health support to be offered in every school and a crackdown on social media companies that fail to regulate their content.

Boris Johnson
Backbencher

- Rules out a pay-for-access NHS, saying it would remain "free to everybody at the point of use" under his leadership. - Has previously said money spent on the EU could be put into the NHS. - Plans to give public sector workers a "fair" pay rise, according to supporter Health Secretary Matt Hancock. - Says more should be spent on social care, according to a cross-party "national consensus".

Education

Jeremy Hunt
Foreign Secretary

- Pledges to write off tuition fees for young entrepreneurs who start a new business and employ more than 10 people for five years. - Wants to reduce interest rates on student debt repayments. - Long-term plan to provide more funding for the teaching profession. - Wants to abolish illiteracy.

Boris Johnson
Backbencher

- Wants to raise per-pupil spending in primary and secondary schools, with a minimum of £5,000 for each student in the latter. - Wants to look at lowering the interest rate on student debts.

More than half the ballot papers sent to the homes of party members are thought to have been returned so far, and the winner will be announced on 23 July.

In a recent Conservative Home poll of 1,300 party members, Mr Johnson came out on top.

The bookmakers are offering odds on who the next leader will be and Mr Johnson is the clear favourite.

The two candidates have been taking part in a series of hustings or debates to try to win over party members. The last one was on Wednesday, 17 July.

Out of the two, Jeremy Hunt, who replaced Mr Johnson as foreign secretary last year, has more experience in government and has held more cabinet posts.

He was made culture secretary under the coalition government in 2010 and oversaw the 2012 London Olympics before becoming health secretary.

In 2018, Mr Hunt became the longest-serving health secretary, and arguably one of the most controversial, since the NHS was created, completing six years in the role.

During his tenure, Mr Hunt clashed with unions over contracts for junior doctors, who took part in a series of walkouts in 2015.

Mr Johnson was the MP for Henley for seven years before being elected Mayor of London in 2008. He returned to Parliament as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in 2015.

On a personal level, the two candidates have similar backgrounds - being educated at private schools and both attending Oxford University.

Mr Johnson was born in New York to English parents, giving him dual nationality. But he later renounced his US citizenship.

How did we get here?

Tory MPs voted five times to choose their preferred candidates.

In the fifth and final round of voting, Boris Johnson came out on top with 160 out of the 313 votes cast. One ballot paper was spoiled.

Jeremy Hunt was second with 77 votes and Michael Gove was eliminated after securing the support of 75 fellow MPs.

But 10 candidates started the race on 10 June.

Mark Harper, Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey were eliminated in the first round after failing to get the necessary 17 votes.

Matt Hancock, who won 20 votes, later withdrew from the contest, pledging his support for Boris Johnson.

Dominic Raab was eliminated in round two, after falling three votes short of the required 33.

Rory Stewart's campaign came to an end after he finished last in the third ballot.

Sajid Javid and Michael Gove were knocked out after they finished last in last two successive ballots.

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