Tory MPs plan to bring start of party leadership contest forward to this week

The 1922 committee said a leader should be in place by September 

Jon Stone
Monday 27 June 2016 16:55
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Nominations to replace David Cameron as Conservative leader could close on Thursday
Nominations to replace David Cameron as Conservative leader could close on Thursday

Backbench Conservative MPs have voted to bring forward the start of the party's leadership contest to this week.

The 1922 Committee, the Tory equivalent of the Parliamentary Labour Party, recommended that nominations for new leader should open on Wednesday 29 June and close on Thursday 30 June.

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Under the proposed schedule, a replacement for David Cameron would be in place by 2 September.

The accelerated timetable would see the new Tory leader in place more than a month before previous planned. Mr Cameron had said he wanted his successor to be in place by party conference in October.

MPs touted as names in a leadership contest include Boris Johnson, Stephen Crabb, Liam Fox, Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom.

Under Tory rules MPs must be nominated by fellow MPs in their party. Several rounds of voting then take place, eliminating one candidate in each round. Only Conservative MPs are allowed to vote in these rounds.

The final two nominees are then finally put to the Conservative party membership in a run-off vote.

Though former mayor of London Boris Johnson is widely touted as a frontrunner in the contest because of his high profile, previous contests have delivered regular upsets, with the favourite not having ultimately been elected.

The Conservatives may end up holding their leadership contest at the same time as Labour. The opposition party's leader Jeremy Corbyn has faced open rebellion from his frontbench, with more than half of the shadow cabinet stepping down and calling for his replacement.

The last Tory leadership contest was called in May 2005 and concluded in December 2005, meaning this year's would be significantly shorter.

Mr Cameron stepped down the morning after the Remain side's defeat in the EU referendum, arguing that he was not the person to take Britain out of the bloc.

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