One of these men—and woman—could be the next UK prime minister

After the shock result of last week's referendum which saw the U.K. opt to leave the European Union, Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would step down in the fall, paving the way for a new leader to negotiate Britain's potential European exit.

In a rather complicated process, the Conservatives will open nominations for the position Wednesday. If there is a big field of candidates - the final two will be chosen by lawmakers and the leader will be picked in a ballot of party members from around the country and declared in early September.

CNBC takes a look at the runners and riders, with odds supplied by betting firm William Hill:

Boris Johnson – (odds 11/10)

Boris Johnson leaves after casting their votes at a polling station on the EU Referendum in London, United Kingdom on June 23, 2016
Ray Tang | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Boris Johnson leaves after casting their votes at a polling station on the EU Referendum in London, United Kingdom on June 23, 2016

Equally loved and hated, the divisive former London mayor was one of the leaders who successfully spearheaded the leave campaign.

Often in the headlines with stunts that include getting stuck halfway on a zip wire while launching the London Olympics bid in 2012.

A former journalist who attended Eton and Oxford.

Theresa May – (odds 6/4)

Theresa May
Oli Scarff | Getty Images
Theresa May

One of the longest-serving home secretaries, who is known for her tough stance on migrants.

Supported the remain campaign from the sidelines.

Michael Gove – (odds 40/1)

Kevin Winter | Getty Images

Education secretary, considered an "intellectual heavyweight " who played a key role in the Conservative party's return to power in 2010.

Backed leave side.

Stephen Crabb – (odds 7/1)

Kevin Winter | Getty Images

Work and Pensions secretary.

First candidate to bid for PM position on a joint ticket with Business Secretary Sajid Javid in what Crabb dubbed a "blue collar ticket."

Both backed remain campaign for the UK to stay in the EU.

Liam Fox – (odds 20/1)

Kevin Winter | Getty Images

Former defense secretary, who came a close third in the 2005 leadership contest (which Cameron won).

Strong voice of the leave campaign.

Jeremy Hunt – (odds 20/1)

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt

Controversial health secretary who has overseen many changes to the state-run National Health Service that have led to several strikes by junior doctors over new contracts.

Campaigned for remain.


U.K. newspaper The Times calculated on Wednesday that 26 MPs had backed Boris Johnson and 12 indicating that they would back Theresa May, suggesting that Johnson has the early momentum. However, May beat Johnson in a Conservative Home poll with 29 percent of the vote and Johnson 28 percent.

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