How the UK Conservative leadership race works

Author: Adam Button | Category: News

What are the steps

Conservative leadership odds
Theresa May threw in the towel today on a leadership that was dominated by Brexit failures. That will give someone else a chance to form some kind of voting coalition that will pass a deal, or that will walk away from the EU without one. 

The leadership contest itself is now unofficially open and Boris Johnson is the betting favourite by a large margin with Dominic Raab in second place.
UK leadership candidates
Ultimately, I believe there will be a strong Johnson contingent but an equally strong 'anyone but Johnson' camp. If the alternative candidate can capture some imagination, it will be horse race.

Here is how it will go down, with dates possibly shifting a few days.

June 13 will be the deadline for candidates to put their names forward. Expect a crowded field at the outset.

The next phase starts June 18 with hustings, which are meetings where candidates meet with voters. Given the possibility of a general election and the opportunity to recruit new members, the party may let these run a bit longer.

The aim is to have the contest wrapped up by the end of July. The process is one of elimination. MPs have all the power at the start and will hold a vote each Tuesday and Thursday and the candidate with the least amount of support is taken off the roster. This can take place more quickly than it might appear. Candidates tend to drop out before they're voted out.

Eventually only two candidates remain and those two are put to a vote among Conservative party members. It takes a substantial amount of time to poll the 150,000 members of the party. However the second-place candidate can also drop out and expedite the process. That's what happened in 2016 as Andrea Leadsom withdrew and was kindly given the post as Leader of the House of Commons in exchange. That entire contest was wrapped up in less than two weeks and on just two ballots of MPs.

Theresa May will continue as Prime Minister until her successor is chosen, which could come sooner than expected.

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