New UK prime minister to be announced on September 5

A large number of contenders in the leadership race could be knocked out of the challenge early on

Number 10 Downing Street. EPA
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Boris Johnson will cease to be the British prime minister on September 5, it was confirmed on Monday evening, and the rules for the forthcoming Conservative Party leadership election were agreed upon following a meeting of the 1922 Committee.

A large number of contenders for the position could be knocked out very early on.

The first round of voting will take place on Wednesday after nominations close on Tuesday at 6pm BST, with candidates requiring at least 20 supporters to proceed in the first ballot, the committee has confirmed.

This could mean that Suella Braverman, Rehman Chishti, Grant Shapps and even Sajid Javid could be knocked out even before the first round.

When The National saw Mr Javid, a former chancellor, in Westminster on Monday evening, he looked downhearted, potentially dealing with the knowledge he had not secured sufficient votes to continue in the contest.

The rules also established that nominees for the second round on Thursday will require 30 nominations, suggesting that the field of candidates will be quickly narrowed down.

Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the committee, told the media that there could be only two candidates remaining by next Monday.

There is some discontent in the party that the process is moving too fast, without enough time for candidates to undergo the scrutiny of colleagues and the media.

But the rules will be signed off on later on Monday by the Conservative Board, which will make any challenge to the timetable impossible.

Sir Graham denied that the threshold for Wednesday and Thursday’s vote was too high for lesser-known candidates to make a mark.

“We do need to make sure there’s a decent period of time before the result is announced on September 5,” he said.

“We need to make sure there’s a reasonable chance for the party and the country to meet and question the candidates.”

The new rules were set a few hours after the Conservatives elected a new executive to the 1922 Committee, but with Sir Graham remaining as its chairman.

The remaining candidates will be subject to a series of live television debates, starting this Sunday on ITV then with Sky and potentially the BBC hosting the events, too.

Once Parliament goes into recess on Thursday, July 21, the Conservative Central Office will organise a hustings across the UK in which various Conservative Associations will be able to directly question the two remaining 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 late August or early September.

Conservative headquarters in London will host the final announcement of the winner, who will become next Tory party leader and Britain’s new prime minister.

The termination date for Mr Johnson’s premiership will mean that he serves 34 days longer than his predecessor, Theresa May, who he unseated in 2019.

Updated: July 12, 2022, 3:50 PM
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