Tory leadership election: When are the votes held and how is the next PM chosen?

12 July 2022, 13:50 | Updated: 13 July 2022, 13:59

Tories are vying for leadership of the Tory party
Tories are vying for leadership of the Tory party. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Will Taylor

Boris Johnson's resignation has triggered a Tory leadership contest with a host of MPs vying to take charge of the party – and with it, the keys to No10.

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Britain's next Prime Minister will be determined by a series of votes by Conservative MPs before the winner from the final two candidates is picked by the party's membership.

It is an exhaustive contest that looks set to stretch well out to September. That's a timetable that has infuriated opposition parties and Boris Johnson's critics, who want him out of office before then.

Here's how the Tory leadership process works – and how the next Prime Minister will be chosen.

Read more: Boris won't 'ruin any candidate's chances' as 11 Tories line up in leadership battle

Mr Sunak has deployed a slick campaign early doors
Mr Sunak has deployed a slick campaign early doors. Picture: Alamy

How is the Conservative leadership winner chosen? When are the votes held?

The first vote will take place on July 13, when each of the contenders will need to secure at least 30 MPs. If anyone fails to achieve that, they are out of the election. The result is due around 5pm on Wednesday.

After that, a series of votes are held from July 14 that whittle down the candidates, with each round seeing the one with the fewest MPs getting eliminated.

In practice, as the frontrunners start to emerge and potential cabinets are formed, we could see some drop out to back another, bringing their supporters with them to rally around one Tory leadership bid – or, perhaps, in opposition to another.

Tom Tugendhat is aiming for the leadership
Tom Tugendhat is aiming for the leadership. Picture: Alamy

Who is running for Conservative leader?

The MPs who announced they were running were originally Kemi Badenoch, attorney general Suella Braverman, Rehman Chishti, 2019 leadership contender Jeremy Hunt, former health secretary Sajid Javid, Penny Mordaunt, former chancellor Rishi Sunak, foreign secretary Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat and chancellor Nadhim Zahawi.

However Rehman Chishti and Sajid Javid both pulled out minutes before the close of nominations on Tuesday, when they needed to secure at least 20 MPs.

Read more: Tory rivals turn on each other as claims surface of S&M, affairs, prostitutes and drugs

When is the new Prime Minister chosen?

The next Tory leader should be picked by September 5.

By that date, the Conservatives will have taken their candidates down to a final two.

The MPs then throw the final decision on who wins to the party's members – claimed to be some 200,000 people.

Penny Mordaunt is among the candidates having secured early support
Penny Mordaunt is among the candidates having secured early support. Picture: Getty

The candidates have been pledged to avoid a repeat of the 2016 election to replace David Cameron, when Theresa May won after her final rival, Andrea Leadsom, withdrew before the members' vote.

When does Boris Johnson go?

Boris Johnson has announced his resignation but hopes to stay on through the summer until the new leader is elected – and has flat out refused to affect the election by wading in to support one of the contenders.

He will step down as Prime Minister when the successor is elected, meaning he will remain in office until September, unless a candidate ends up being picked earlier.

The new leader will then become Prime Minister.

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