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Tory election rules for selecting new PM set out

A new prime minister is expected to be in place by the end of July.

Theresa May will not be Prime Minister for much longer (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Theresa May will not be Prime Minister for much longer (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Tory candidates to be the next prime minister will undergo at least a dozen hustings before the winner enters Downing Street at the end of July, it has been announced.

Leading figures from the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs have set out the rules of the contest to succeed Theresa May as PM.

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(PA Graphics)

Tory MPs will whittle down the final two candidates to go into a run-off decided by the party’s 160,000 membership by June 20.

The new prime minister is then expected to be appointed in the week beginning July 22.

After the Prime Minister formally steps down as leader of the Conservative Party on Friday, Mrs May will remain acting leader of the party until a successor is appointed.

Joint acting chairman of the 1922 Committee Charles Walker told a Westminster briefing: “We are aiming to have two people by Thursday June 20.

“There is provision for a fifth ballot on Thursday June 20.

Who knows? We might finish this process before Thursday June 20 Charles Walker, 1922 Committee

“I’m not a mathematical or statistical expert, but I think it would be very difficult… to get beyond a fifth ballot in this process.

“Who knows? We might finish this process before Thursday June 20.”

Mr Walker said he expected the final two candidates to remain in the race.

He said: “The expectation is that if they are in the final two, they will go through and put themselves before the membership through the membership hustings.

“We have had the conversation with those who have indicated they are going to put their papers in.”

The last Tory leadership race in 2016 saw Andrea Leadsom pull out of the contest before a planned membership run-off vote.

Mr Walker said: “I think there is great recognition across the parliamentary party that this does need to go to the membership this time.

“And I think those candidates that have indicated, potential candidates, that they wish to run, are fully aware of that.

“And, hopefully, relishing the prospect.”

Security will be tight in the voting process.

All ballot papers will be specially stamped by the committee’s officers, and the colour of the papers will only be decided the night before voting.

MPs will not be allowed to take pictures of their ballot papers when they vote in a committee room in the Palace of Westminster.

Mr Walker said of Tory MPs: “As well as we do know them, they are going to be required to bring their parliamentary passes with them, which they hate doing.”

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