The new British Prime Minister will replace outgoing Boris Johnson will be announced on September 5, the ruling Conservative Party said on Monday, and there are currently 11 candidates running for the post.
The leadership battle began last week when Johnson, 58, was forced to step down after a frenzy of resigning more than 50 people from his government in opposition to his controversial premiership.
An influential 1922 committee of non-ministerial Tory MPs in Parliament on Monday charted a timetable for the election of the party’s leadership.
Nominations will officially begin and end on Tuesday, with a new prime minister appointed when Parliament returns from summer recess on Sept. 5, 1922 committee chairman Graham Brady told reporters.
The Conservative MPs will reduce the current list to the last two through a series of ballots, with the worst-performing candidate being eliminated after each round before party members choose a winner.
With calls for Johnson to leave Downing Street as soon as possible – and to avoid dragging out MPs’ summer vacation process – the number is likely to drop to two quickly.
Co-executive secretary of the 1922 Committee, Bob Blackman, stated that they intended to do so before the July 21 summer break.
According to Brady, the first vote will take place on Wednesday, and the second will most likely take place on Thursday.
In an effort to speed up the process, candidates must have at least 20 MPs to run, up from the usual eight, and any candidate who fails to win the support of 30 MPs in the first ballot will be excluded. .
Those running for office include Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid, whose departments as finance minister and health minister have sparked a wave of resignations.
Foreign Minister Liz Truss and Sunak’s successor Nadhim Zahavi also said so, while Home Secretary Priti Patel is reportedly considering the proposal.
But a grassroots poll by the influential website ConservativeHome released Monday showed strong support for lesser-known candidates, with former Defense Secretary Penny Mordaunt narrowly ahead of arch-conservative Kemi Badenoch.
Brexit leader Johnson abruptly announced his resignation as party leader last Thursday but remains at Downing Street until a replacement can be found.
Javid said that with Britain facing a soaring cost of living, rising energy prices and a war in Ukraine, the country’s leaders need “competence” more than ever.
“I really hope that this campaign can and will be the turning point we need,” he said at the opening of the campaign.
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During a visit to a research institute in London, Johnson was asked bluntly if he would support any of the candidates, six of whom were black and ethnic minorities.
“The prime minister’s job at this stage is to allow the party to decide, to allow them to continue their work and continue with the projects that we have been chosen to carry out,” he said.
Johnson’s fall was spectacular. In December 2019, he won a landslide victory with 80 seats on the promise of taking the UK out of the European Union.
His parliamentary majority allowed him to do just that, but his premiership has been plagued by a wave of scandals, not least of the lockdown-breaking Downing Street parties that resulted in him being fined by the police.
Last week, another scandal erupted over his appointment as a senior colleague, despite knowing about the allegations of sexual abuse against him, prompting the government’s resignation.
In his speech, he blamed the “herd” for turning against him, and his allies angrily briefed Sunak.
But on Monday, Johnson declined to say whether he felt betrayed.
“I don’t want to talk about all this anymore,” he said.
“There is a contest going on and it happened and you know I wouldn’t want to spoil any chances by offering my support.
“I just have to keep going, and in the last few days or weeks… the prime minister’s constitutional function in this situation is to continue to carry out the mandate. And that’s what I do,” he added.
“The more we focus on the people who elect us… (and) the less we talk about politics in Westminster, the happier we will all be.”