Key dates in the Conservative leadership contest

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Tory MPs hope to have reduced the search for Boris Johnson’s successor, due to be announced on September 5, to two possibilities in the coming days (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
Tory MPs hope to have reduced the search for Boris Johnson’s successor, due to be announced on September 5, to two possibilities in the coming days (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

Tory MPs hope to have reduced the search for Boris Johnson’s successor, due to be announced on September 5, to two possibilities in the coming days.

Former chancellor Rishi Sunak, trade minister Penny Mordaunt, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, senior backbencher Tom Tugendhat and former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch will face off in Sunday’s second debate.

Attorney General Suella Braverman, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and former Cabinet minister Jeremy Hunt were eliminated in the first two rounds of voting.

Here is a timetable for the rest of the leadership contest.

– Sunday July 17: Second debate. ITV will host a televised debate at 7pm.

– Monday July 18: Third round of voting. The ballot on Monday and subsequent rounds on the following days will eliminate the contender with the fewest votes until only two remain – who will then go forward into a postal ballot of party members.

Bob Blackman, joint executive secretary of the 1922 Committee, said the aim was to have the contest down to a final two by Thursday, before the start of MPs’ summer holidays.

Conservative leadership election timetable. Infographic from PA Graphics. (PA Graphics)
Conservative leadership election timetable. Infographic from PA Graphics. (PA Graphics)

He told Sky News: “We’ve got to slim down the list of candidates pretty quickly to two.

“And the one thing that we’re committed to do is to achieve getting to two candidates by Thursday July 21.

“That means that we’ll hold a succession of ballots over the next few days in order to get to that position.”

– Tuesday July 19: Third debate at 8pm. Sky News’ Kay Burley is scheduled to host the debate.

– Friday July 22 onwards: Hustings are to take place around the country over the summer to help party members determine their choice for the new Conservative leader.

Mr Blackman said it is a “condition of nomination” for candidates to agree that they will contest the ballot of party members if they reach the final two.

This is to avoid a situation as in 2016, when Dame Andrea Leadsom dropped out, handing the leadership unchallenged to Theresa May before party members were given the opportunity to vote.

– Monday September 5: New Conservative leader announced. The new prime minister will be announced on September 5 when MPs return to Westminster from their summer break.

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