The 1922 Committee hopes that by this evening there will be new rules to shorten the race to find the UK’s next PM, with the aim of cutting the candidates down to a final two before Parliament goes into recess on Thursday next week.
With the committee electing its new executive tonight, the new members plan to organise the parliamentary voting of the leadership contest, to slim down the pool of candidates before the vote goes to the party’s members.
The current ’22 committee, chaired by Sir Graham Brady, has already put proposals in place to shorten the process so that only two can be put forward to members from July 21, the date of recess.
“We’ve got to slim down the list of candidates pretty quickly to two,” Bob Blackman, the joint-executive secretary of the 1922 Committee, said on Sky News earlier today.
According to Blackman, the new rules will ensure that Conservative party members have a chance to vote on the final candidates, who will no longer be allowed to withdraw from the contest once they make the final two.
This new process aims to prevent a repeat of 2019, when Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the race, leaving Theresa May free to take the leadership without members having a chance to vote for their preferred leader.
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Another rule set to be introduced by the committee will see candidates requiring support from at least 20 MPs to appear on the ballot paper – more than double what was required in 2019. After the first ballot, candidates are expected to need 36 votes in order to stay in the running. This is about 10 per cent of all Tory MPs, again up from five per cent in 2019.
With the deadline for nominations set at 6pm on Tuesday 12 July, those with enough support like Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt will be nominated to Sir Graham Brady. Sunak is out in front with 38 MPs supporting him while Mordaunt currently has 23. But other candidates are moving up fast behind putting on the heat. Nadhim Zahawi the new Chancellor who launched his own campaign today, pledged to cut taxes for families and business, claiming that under Sunak taxes had soared. So far Zahawi has 12 votes.
The first round of voting will begin on Wednesday, with the candidate receiving the fewest votes being removed from the contest, the details of which have to be announced.
Three more rounds of voting will follow on 14 July, 19 July and 20 July, with Sky News announcing that it will hold a live TV debate on 18 July, before the third and fourth rounds of voting. By 21 July, the pack should have been whittled down to just two Tory hopefuls.
The future of Britain then rests in the hands of some 200,000 party members who have until late August to vote. By 5 September, there will be a new PM in Number 10.
Boris Johnson, meanwhile, has apparently accepted his political toxicity, saying today that he “wouldn’t want to damage anyone’s chances by offering [his support].” How generous of him.