How will the contest to replace Theresa May work?
When Theresa May’s premiership draws to a close, the timetable for the Conservative Party contest to replace her will be set out.
– When will Theresa May leave office?
Having announced that she will stand down, Mrs May could continue as a lame duck premier until the Tories choose a new leader.
When David Cameron resigned following the referendum result in June 2016, the contest was originally planned to end in early September that year – but Mrs May was the last candidate standing and became Prime Minister on July 13.
With the deadline on the withdrawal deal brokered by Mrs May and the EU set to expire on October 31, the decision may be whether to have a short race in order to give the new leader time to find an agreement that could unite a party at war with itself.
– How would a leadership contest work?
Candidates must be nominated by two Conservative MPs. If only one candidate comes forward, he or she becomes leader, but a coronation appears unlikely given the crowded field of leadership hopefuls already jostling for position.
The list of candidates is whittled down to a shortlist of two in a series of votes by Conservative MPs.
The final pair then go to a postal ballot of all party members, with the position of leader – and prime minister – going to the victor.
– How long would that take?
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers,
would be responsible for overseeing the contest and setting a timetable for the campaign, which would be expected to last around 12 weeks – although given the pressing need to get on with the Brexit process, that could be shortened.
A new leader is likely to be in place for the Conservative Party conference in Manchester starting on September 29.