Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Elly Rewcastle

Who is Ben Wallace, frontrunner to be next Prime Minister?

The race to replace Boris Johnson has shot off to a flying start. One of the leading favourites to step forward to become the new Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party is the current Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

The MP for Wyre and Preston North has served as Defence Secretary since July 2019, replacing Ms Mordaunt. On Wednesday he called the mass resignations in protest of Mr Johnson’s leadership “political parlour games”, adding: “To be clear, I am going to see brave Ukrainian men and women training to fight for their lives and their country.”

A new snap YouGov polling shows at first glance that the field appears to be diverse, with a handful of names thrown in the ring. Ben Wallace tops this list, at 13% he is neck and neck with Penny Mordaunt (12%). Rishi Sunak takes 10% and Liz Truss scores 8%. Jeremy Hunt, who came second in the 2019 Conservative leadership contest, places joint eighth on 5%, alongside new chancellor Nadhim Zahawi.

Read more: The contenders to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister

The YouGov poll, of 716 Conservative party members, further compared each candidate against others with Mr Wallace coming out as the clear winner. A new Tory leader is set to be in place by the party conference in October, a No 10 source said, as leadership elections will take a number of weeks.

The YouGov poll showed that voters widely preferred Ben Wallace over a number of other candidates (YouGov)

Who is Ben Wallace?

Mr Wallace is the current Secretary of State for Defence and has been the MP for Wyre and Preston North since 2010. He first entered politics as a Member of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, before moving to Lancashire where he was elected as MP for Lancaster and Wyre in 2005.

He was born and grew up in Farnborough. His father was a soldier in the 1st King's Dragoon Guards, and saw service in Malaya. Following in his father's footsteps, Mr Wallace attended the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and Millfield School in Somerset. He held the rank of captain in the Scots Guards, a regiment of the British Army.

During his time in the forces, he served in Germany, Cyprus, Belize, and Northern Ireland. During his time in Northern Ireland, he was mentioned in dispatches in 1992 for an incident in which the patrol he was commanding captured an entire IRA active service unit attempting to carry out a bomb attack against British troops.

His political career began in Scotland, where he became a Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, as a list MSP for North East Scotland. He stood down from this role in 2003 in favour of a seat in Westminster, which he succeeded at in 2005 when he was elected as MP for Lancaster and Wyre. The constituency was abolished in 2010 ahead of the general election, in which Mr Wallace was successful at being elected as MP in the new seat of Wyre and Preston North.

His first job in Government was as parliamentary private secretary to the veteran cabinet minister the Rt. Hon Ken Clarke QC, as Justice Secretary. He has served as a whip, the Northern Ireland Minister and lastly the UK’s longest-serving Security Minister. While he has yet to confirm that he will be running in the leadership contest, bookies are placing Mr Wallace among the front runners.

Read more politics stories here

Read next:

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.