Factbox: How will Britain’s Conservative Party choose PM May’s successor?

June 5, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s ruling Conservative Party will decide the country’s next prime minister in late July – a contest that will bring in a new leader who could pursue a cleaner break with the European Union.

Theresa May will resign as the party’s leader on June 7, having failed to deliver Brexit on schedule or find a way to get parliament to approve her exit plan.

May’s announcement does not trigger a parliamentary election. So far, 11 candidates are running to replace her. The winner of the contest will become party leader and prime minister.

Here is how that process, which is overseen by an internal party group known as the 1922 Committee, is expected to work:


Candidates putting themselves forward for the leadership must be backed by eight other Conservative lawmakers. This is higher than in previous contests, after the committee made rule changes designed to cull weaker candidates.

A call for candidates will be made at 1600 GMT on June 7. Nominations will be received beginning 0900 GMT June 10 and closing at 1600 GMT on the same day.


Conservatives lawmakers then hold several rounds of votes to whittle down the number of candidates. Each time, they vote in a secret ballot.

Any candidate with 16 votes or fewer in the first round, on June 13 between 0900 GMT and 1100 GMT, is eliminated. If all candidates have more than 16 votes, the one with the fewest votes is eliminated.

In the second round, any candidate with 32 votes or fewer is eliminated. If all candidates have more than 32 votes, the one with the fewest is eliminated.

Further ballots are scheduled on June 18, 19 and 20, and will continue until two candidates remain.

MEMBERSHIP VOTE: Concludes in week beginning July 22

The final two candidates are put to a ballot of the wider Conservative Party membership, with the winner named the new leader. This ballot has been carried out by post in previous contests.

The party said it wanted to complete this stage in the week beginning July 22.

The party has around 160,000 members. It said hustings would take place on June 22 and non-members would also be given the chance to meet and question candidates.


In her resignation speech, May said she would serve as prime minister until the leadership contest was concluded.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and William James; editing by Guy Faulconbridge, Janet Lawrence, William Maclean, Larry King)

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