Britain could have a new prime minister by September 5 after a rapid round of voting by MPs in the next two weeks.
With a widespread desire to see Boris Johnson removed from office at the earliest opportunity, Conservative MPs are expected to whittle down the field to the last two candidates before Parliament's summer break on Thursday next week.
It is understood the remaining pair will provide a written undertaking to put themselves before the ballot of 200,000 Conservative Party members who will vote for Britain’s next leader.
This is to avoid any back-room deal between the candidates, as happened when Theresa May became prime minister in 2016 after Andrea Leadsom dropped out, without the pair being scrutinised by a series of nationwide hustings.
Late on Monday the precise timetable and election rules will be set out by the 1922 Committee that sets Conservative Party rules. The National understands there is now a provisional working timetable.
Monday, July 11
Shortly after 7pm the 1922 Committee will agree on the precise rules for the race and the number of supporters required to proceed to the first round of votes, potentially 20 MPs.
Tuesday, July 12
Currently 11 candidates have put themselves forward as the next Conservative Party leader. This could expand to 12 or 13 — in 2019 there were initially 10 — who must submit their nominations to the 1922 Committee by 6pm.
Any contender not backed by 20 MPs — including a proposer and seconder — will be out.
Wednesday, July 13
Boris Johnson will attend his first Prime Minister’s Questions in the knowledge that many sat behind him wielded the knives that led to his resignation on Thursday last week.
The first round of voting with take place in a large committee room in the Commons between 1.30pm and 3.30pm. MPs unable to attend in person — because they are banned from Parliament or are on official overseas trips — can ask a fellow MP to make a proxy vote.
The results will be announced on Wednesday evening.
Thursday, July 14
Contenders who do not have the support of 10 per cent of the parliamentary party’s 358 MPs will bow out. If a dozen candidates are standing this could well shrink the field at this stage by half.
Votes will be eagerly sought by the remaining candidates — with possible deals struck for places in the next government — before Thursday’s second round of voting.
The candidate placed last will then be removed from the contest.
There will also be a hustings, in which contenders are questioned by colleagues, possibly on Thursday morning.
Sunday, July 17
The first of the televised debates of the remaining candidates will be broadcast live at 7pm on ITV. Performances before a studio audience could have a significant effect on the outcome.
Monday, July 18
This is being labelled “Super Monday”, when the future potential prime ministers will be grilled by three different Tory MP groups – the 1922 Committee, the anti-woke Common Sense Group and a grouping of senior MPs. Meanwhile, Sky television is expected to host a debate in the evening.
Tuesday, July 19
A third and potentially fourth round of voting will take place, allowing for two ballots in a single day. This could whittle the candidates down a final three.
Wednesday, July 20
The last day of voting should reveal which two people will go forward to be elected by the Conservative Party membership. This will also be the day of Mr Johnson’s last PMQs.
Parliament will close on Thursday although that could be used as a reserve for any voting still required.
Conservative Central Office will organise a number of hustings around the UK in which various Conservative Associations will be able to directly question the remaining two candidates.
In 2019 these took place in Belfast, Cardiff, Darlington, Nottingham, Perth and York.
Members will be balloted by a postal vote with a deadline potentially set for Tuesday, August 30, the day after the bank holiday.
Monday, September 5
Conservative headquarters in London will announce the winner, who will become next Tory party leader and hence Britain’s new prime minister.
Two days later he or she will be in the Commons for their first PMQ battle with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.