Who is Ben Wallace? The new favourite to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister

Ben Wallace has beaten all other competitors in a new poll as Boris Johnson's replacement. Credit: PA Images

The clear favourite to replace Boris Johnson as outgoing Conservative party leader and prime minister is current Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, it has emerged.

A YouGov snap poll asked 716 Conservative members who they would vote for and in all scenarios, Mr Wallace won by a significant margin.

Mr Wallace beat Liz Truss by 48% to 29%, Penny Mordaunt by 48% to 26%, Rishi Sunak by 51% to 30%, and Jeremy Hunt by 58%to 22%.

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, in all scenarios, Mr Wallace won by a significant margin against rivals. Credit: 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.

The defence secretary has won admirers in Westminster for his straight-talking and straightforward approach. Credit: PA

Has he made any comment on whether he will run?

Ben Wallace is yet to announce whether he will put himself forward as the next Conservative leader.

But, the MP has responded to a tweet by a former NBA player of the same name, who made a joke on Twitter about running for prime minister himself after multiple people tagged him in posts.

Replying to the tweet the Defence Secretary said: "I'd vote for you".

What is his background?

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.

Cllr David Henderson, Leader of Wyre Council, who is friends with the MP, said his military background would serve him well as PM.

He said: "If you're in a position of leadership, you've got to be able to trust the people around you because you can't do everything.

"In his previous role in the army and now (as Defence Secretary), he'll lead from the front."

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.

In 2008, he was awarded ‘Campaigner of the Year’ by The Spectator after leading calls for improved transparency and the reform of parliamentary expenses.

His Defence Secretary role

As Defence Secretary, Mr Wallace has responsibility for international partnerships with NATO, defence planning and nuclear operations.

He has also been a key voice in the UK’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and this increased exposure could assist any leadership bid.

However, Cllr Henderson suggests that Wallace isn't necessarily driven by naked ambition.

He said: "There are those in politics that will accept the position because they feel they can do the job properly and I think Ben could do the job properly."

Personal life

Ben Wallace lives with his family in Lancashire and enjoys rugby, motor sports and horse racing.

After school he worked as a ski instructor in Austria before beginning his career in the armed forces.

He was commissioned as an Officer in the Scots Guards and in the 1990s he saw service in Northern Ireland, Germany, Cyprus and Central America.