As a scandal-hit prime minister faces continuing calls to resign over alleged Covid rule-breaking in Downing Street last year, conversations are already being had over who may replace Boris Johnson as the next occupant of Number 10.

If you somehow missed it, it was reported that a Christmas party took place in Downing Street in December 2020, when strict lockdown measures were in force. A Number 10 spokesman said: “Covid rules have been followed at all times” when the story broke.

However, that stance came under scrutiny when Allegra Stratton, who was due to host televised press briefings from Downing Street before they were scrapped, was caught on film joking that a Christmas party at the government building was a “business meeting” and was “not socially distanced”.

She announced her resignation outside her home on Wednesday.

Things then heated up when the prime minister himself was caught up in the allegations, with the Mirror reporting on Saturday that Mr Johnson hosted a Christmas quiz last year – and they had a picture.

Although the quiz was virtual, the image shows him next to two other people, at a time when social mixing was not allowed.

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All of this has led people to question how long Mr Johnson will have left in office, with the Westminster leader of the Scottish National Party, Ian Blackford MP, having already called for his resignation.

With all this going on, some names are already circulating as Boris’ successor before he’s even left office – however soon that may be.

So we’ve rounded up the contenders being flagged for the top job, as well as the reaction to them potentially being in charge next.

Rishi Sunak

Current chancellor of the exchequer, the Richmond MP worked himself up the political ladder from a local government minister in 2018, to chief secretary to the Treasury in 2019, to being an occupant of one of the four great offices of state last year.

Given how close he is to the top job already, people are already predicting that he’ll throw his hat in the ring – and maybe even end up with the top job:

Liz Truss

Previously rated the most popular cabinet minister amongst Tory members, Elizabeth ‘Pork Markets’ Truss – currently foreign secretary and women and equalities minister – has been suggested as the next PM for her appeal with conservatives.

Since conversations began about Ms Truss being next to take on the role, a video has surfaced online showing her awkward responses to journalists’ questions – alongside other comments expressing concern about her potential candidacy:

Priti Patel

While other names may simply be speculation at this point, The Sunday Times is already reporting that the controversial home secretary is considering standing as a candidate.

The MP, who has sparked many a backlash for her stance on immigration, is currently facing intense criticism over two pieces of proposed legislation: the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and the Nationality and Borders Bill - the latter of which gives her the power to remove a person’s British citizenship without notice.

Many responded to the Sunday Times’ report to say they’d move country if Ms Patel becomes the next prime minister:

Jeremy Hunt

The former health secretary, who came second to Mr Johnson in the race to replace Theresa May, could well decide to have another go at winning the leadership contest.

Although Mr Hunt’s past certainly hasn’t been forgotten by Twitter users:

Matt Hancock

You’d think a recent scandal over kissing an aide and breaking Covid rules would skewer someone’s chances of running for the biggest job in the country, yet the aforementioned Sunday Times article claims he’s been talking up his prospects of becoming the next prime minister.

While the other names rumoured to take over have filled Twitter users with dread, this one has prompted ridicule instead:

We’ll have to wait and see in terms of who’s coming next, but we can’t say we’re looking forward to finding out.

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