Tory leadership race: How the vote works and what date will it end?

Five leadership candidates were left remaining on Thursday afternoon. (PA)

The race for the next Tory leader is in full swing, with the winner entering Number 10 as the new prime minister in a matter of weeks.

Five candidates remain in the contest, and will take part in the first of three televised leadership debates on Friday.

How does the Tory leadership election work?

All 358 Tory MPs were able to throw their hat in the ring to enter the race after Boris Johnson announced his resignation, but leadership hopefuls needed at least 20 MPs' backing to qualify.

The MPs that did not secure that number were eliminated, with the rest proceeding to the first ballot.

The first ballot was held on Wednesday, and Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi were knocked out after failing to obtain the required support level of 20 Tory colleagues.

In the second ballot, the candidate with the fewest votes was eliminated. The vote was held on Thursday and saw Suella Braverman knocked out.

FILE PHOTO (EDITORS NOTE: COMPOSITE OF IMAGES - Image numbers 1344734999,1206538947,1241814925,1043427012,1239021331) In this composite image a comparison has been made between the five remaining Conservative Leader candidates (L-R) Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss, Kemi Badenoch, Rishi Sunak, Tom Tugendhat. Conservative MP’s will cast their votes in their party’s leadership contest with the eventual winner expected to be announced on September 5,2022. This comes after the resignation of Conservative Leader and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Photo by Getty Images)
Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss, Kemi Badenoch, Rishi Sunak, and Tom Tugendhat were the five remaining candidates on Thursday afternoon. (Getty Images)

The remaining three ballots are due to be held next week. Each time the candidate with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated.

It is common for candidates to withdraw during the process if it is clear they are not in with a chance of winning.

The party expect candidates to have been whittled down to two by Thursday.

After that, the Tory party's membership base will decide who will become the next Tory leader and prime minister over the summer.

How does the 1922 Committee decide on the rules?

Rules for the leadership election were changed on Monday evening in order to increase the threshold of support from MPs required to get through the first round from six to 20.

Increases in the threshold were introduced after a growing number of MPs wanted Johnson out of Number 10 sooner rather than later due to the string of scandals that forced his resignation.

Rishi Sunak at the launch of his campaign to be Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister, at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London. Picture date: Tuesday July 12, 2022.
Rishi Sunak is the preferred candidate among Tory MPs. (PA)
Penny Mordaunt at the launch of her campaign to be Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister, at the Cinnamon Club, in Westminster, London. Picture date: Wednesday July 13, 2022.
Penny Mordaunt is the preferred candidate among Tory members. (PA)

Who's still in the race?

Initially twelve candidates announced their intention to run: Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Nadhim Zahawi, Suella Braverman, Kemi Badenoch, Rehman Chishti and Grant Shapps.

Several dropped out, with others eliminated in the first stages - leaving five candidates remaining after the second ballot on Thursday afternoon: Sunak, Truss, Mordaunt, Badenoch, and Tugendhat.

Sunak and Mordaunt have emerged as the front runners - with Sunak most popular with MPs, and Mordaunt most popular with members.

When will the winner be announced?

A new Tory leader, and prime minister, will be announced on 5 September.

The result will be announced by the chair of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady.

After, the new prime minister will then go to meet the Queen to inform her that they are forming a new government.

Ordinarily the new prime minister then delivers a speech outside Number 10 laying out their agenda and announcing their new role.

Watch: Vice Chair of 1922 Committee outlines timetable to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister