Prime Minister David Cameron has announced he intends to stand down as Conservative Party leader and prime minister following the UK’s decision to leave the EU. The BBC reports that he says his successor should be elected by the time of the party’s conference in October.
So what are the rules and who are the leading candidates?
According the the Conservative party and the BBC, The party’s 1922 committee will oversee the contest. Its executive has suggested the contest should follow the system used to elect David Cameron in 2005, which would see MPs pick two candidates to put to the wider membership.
Furthermore, MPs wanting to stand need to be nominated by two others to get onto the ballot paper. If there are three or more candidates, a ballot or series of ballots will be held of all the party’s 331 MPs to whittle down the field to two. In each round, the candidate with the fewest votes will be eliminated.
After that, a vote of the wider party – in which all Conservative members will have a say – will be held to choose the winner, with hustings taking place.
New party leader in stages:
Stage 1 see’s 3 or more candidates broken down via a collect conservative MP ballot vote. Stage 2 see’s the two highest voted in candidates go head to head and they are elected via another ballot vote between choosing between the two via MPs and wider tory members. Stage 3 see’s these ballots counted and an overall leader elected whoever scores more votes.
Candidates on Offer (BBC 2016)
- Boris Johnson (Vote Leave)
The former mayor of London was immediately installed as the bookies’ favourite to be the next occupant of Downing Street – but he’s since been overtaken by Theresa May. As a pro eurosceptic and Vote Leave leader, he seems to have the most obvious CV for the role.
- Theresa May (Stronger In)
One of the longest-serving home secretaries in history has long been mentioned as a potential future leader of the party and Mrs May is one of Whitehall’s toughest and shrewdest operators. In the fallow years after the Conservatives’ 1997 landslide defeat, she famously said the party was referred to by some as the “nasty party”.
- Steven Crabb (Stronger In)
A rising star of the Conservative Party, and the first Conservative cabinet minister for generations to sport a beard, the 43-year-old has launched a leadership bid on a joint ticket with Business Secretary Sajid Javid.
- John Barron (Vote Leave)
Mr Baron says he has been asked to consider running for Tory leader and is taking soundings.
Mr Barron, 52, was also ”instrumental in pushing the Conservative leadership into committing to the referendum, with a letter to the prime minister, signed by more than 100 MPs, followed by a rebel amendment to the 2013 Queen’s Speech.”
- Dr Liam Fox (Vote Leave)
The former defence secretary, 54, is expected to throw his hat in to the ring for a second time. Mr Fox, a former GP, came a close third in the 2005 leadership contest which saw David Cameron emerge as the victor.
- Jeremy Hunt (Stronger In)
The controversial health secretary, who joined Parliament in 2005 and is politically close to David Cameron, has said he is “seriously considering” running for the leadership of the Conservative Party.
The 49-year-old has previously said he expected the health brief “to be my last big job in politics” but has since said: “I said it might be… things change in politics very, very rapidly.”
- Nicky Morgan (Stronger In)
The education secretary has said she is “actively considering” whether to throw her hat into the ring, saying it would “be good” to have a woman in the final two on the ballot paper.
However, her being on the centre-left of the party, her strong support for a Remain vote may put her at a disadvantage.
- Michael Gove (Vote Leave)
Unlike Mr Johnson, the 48-year-old has gone out of his way in the past to put a limit on his personal ambitions, even going so far as to suggest that he was not equipped to do the job of prime minister.
The former Times journalist, who entered Parliament in 2005, has been a close personal friend of David Cameron and George Osborne and was a key figure in the party’s modernisation that led to its return to power in 2010. As another pro Vote Leave campaigner, he is another highly potential candidate if he puts himself forward.
Meanwhile, George Osborne has ruled himself out of the race to be party leader and is keen to remain as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
It’s believed that all of the prospective contenders are gauging support within the parliamentary party, which will whittle down the candidates to two in a series of ballots before Conservative party members decide between them. The final result is expected on 9 September.
So what do you make of the Tory party leadership race? Who will come out on top and be voted in as the new Prime Minister and Conservative Leader? How well do you think Cameron applied himself as Prime minister and Tory party leader?
Comment Below YOUR views of the Conservative leadership race and David Cameron as PM.