Boris Johnson has been named the favourite to take over from Theresa May as leader of the Conservatives despite recent calls for him to be sacked from the cabinet. According to a YouGov poll of Conservative party members conducted for The Times, 23% would like to see the foreign secretary replace May, with current leader of the Scottish Conservative party, Ruth Davidson, second favourite on 19%.

Despite frequently saying he has no intention of becoming leader, Jacob Rees-Mogg is still the third favourite to do so at 17%. Johnson, who is constantly among the names in any conversation about the next Tory leader, recently faced calls to be sacked by the PM after penning a 4,200 word article on his vision for Brexit just a matter of days before May was due to deliver a key speech in Florence.

The move led to reports of splits and tensions within the government. May responded to Johnson's article by simply saying: "Boris is Boris."

In the same poll, 69% of Tory members believe Johnson is doing a good job as foreign secretary and he is not putting the stability of the government in jeopardy.

Second favourite Davidson has previously ruled out moving to Westminster politics as she still has a "pretty bloody big job" in Scotland and wants to become first minster, ousting the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon.

Also in the YouGov poll, 64% of those surveyed believe May should step down by 2022, with 13% saying she should resign before Britain has left the EU in 2019. Only 29% believe May should still be leader of the party for the next general election, with 5% saying she should quit immediately.

Despite Labour being ahead of the Tories in the latest YouGov poll, only 12% of Conservative members believe Jeremy Corbyn will become prime minister compared to 82% who think it unlikely.

boris johnson
Boris Johnson and Ruth Davidson embrace after the EU debate at Wembley last June Getty