• Stuart Jeffery

Conservatives to pick new UK PM by September 5 - these are all the candidates running

The date set is earlier than some initially expected.

The 1922 Committee of Conservative Party backbenchers has announced that the UK will have a new Prime Minister by 5 September, with the first votes to be cast on Wednesday local time.


The 1922 Committee consists of all Conservative Party backbenchers, meaning those MPs without a ministerial role or other position, and is responsible for setting the rules for how the next Conservative Party leader, and therefore the Prime Minister, will be picked.


Although there was initial speculation that the Conservative Party might take until 2 October to elect a new leader, the 1922 Committee has significantly reduced that timeframe by confirming that the new party leader will be announced on 5 September.


The new date is not the only thing to have been changed by the 1922 Committee.


Last week, 6 reported that a candidate needed to secure the support of 8 other MPs before they could be voted on as a potential new leader. However, with the new Prime Minister to be announced in only two months, the 1922 Committee has opted to increase the number of supporters from 8 to 20.


The process


Voting is expected to take place between 1:30pm and 3:30pm UK time on 13 July, immediately following Prime Minister’s Questions, which starts at 12:00pm. This will Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s first Prime Minister’s Questions since resigning as Conservative Party leader.


If a candidate has the requisite number of supporters, including a proposer and a seconder, they will appear on the ballot paper. Each of the 358 Conservative MPs will then be expected to cast their vote for their preferred leader.


When the votes are tallied, any and all candidates who have not secured the vote of at least 30 MPs will drop out of the race.


Further rounds of voting will be held on the 14th, 19th, and 20th of July, with the candidate who receives the least votes each round being eliminated. The two remaining candidates will then have the opportunity to campaign for votes from all paying members of the Conservative Party.

So, who are the candidates?


These are the current candidates, and how many declared supporters they have, one day out from when voting begins:


Rishi Sunak, 39 MPs


Rishi Sunak was the Chancellor of the Exchequer from 13 February 2020 until he resigned on 5 July 2022, in protest of Boris Johnson. As Chancellor, he held one of the ‘Great Offices of State’ and was outranked by only the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.


Penny Mordaunt, 24 MPs


Penny Mordaunt has served as Minister of State for Trade Policy since 16 September 2021. She had been a prominent MP under Theresa May, when she was Secretary of State for Defence, Secretary of State for International Development, and Minister for Women and Equalities, all at the same time.


Tom Tugendhat, 20 MPs


Tom Tugendhat is a Conservative backbencher. Although he has not served in government, he has promised that this means he could be a “fresh start” for the party. He is currently the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee in the House of Commons.


Liz Truss, 15 MPs


In contrast to Tom Tugendhat, Liz Truss has a decade of experience in government, starting as an under-secretary in 2012, and serving in the Cabinet of 3 Prime Ministers. Truss has been the Minister for Women and Equalities since 10 September 2019 and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs since 15 September 2021. As Foreign Secretary, she holds a ‘Great Office of State.’


Kemi Badenoch, 14 MPs


Although a relatively new MP, elected in 2017, Kemi Badenoch is no outsider to government, having served simultaneously as Minister of State for Equalities since 14 February 2020 and Minister of State for Local Government Faith and Communities since the Cabinet reshuffle of 16 September 2021. Badenoch resigned from positions on 6 July 2022, in protest of Boris Johnson.


Jeremy Hunt, 14 MPs

Like Liz Truss, Jeremy Hunt first served in government under David Cameron, when he oversaw the London 2012 Olympic Games as Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport. Under Theresa May, he replaced Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary, and currently serves as Chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee in the House of Commons. Hunt lost to Boris Johnson in the 2019 Conservative Party leadership campaign, following the resignation of Theresa May.


Priti Patel, 14 MPs


Priti Patel has served as Secretary of State for the Home Department since 24 July 2019. Under Theresa May, she was appointed Secretary of State for International Development. As Home Secretary, Patel represents the third and final of the ‘Great Offices of State.’


Nadhim Zahawi, 14 MPs


Nadhim Zahawi replaced Rishi Sunak as Chancellor after the latter resigned on 5 July. His presence on this list means that all three current holders of the ‘Great Offices of State,’ aside from the Prime Minister himself, are in contention for Conservative Party leadership. Although Zahawi was appointed by Johnson to replace one of the resigning MPs, he nonetheless called on Johnson to resign. Zahawi was elevated to this role from the position of Secretary of State for Education.


Sajid Javid, 12 MPs

Sajid Javid was Secretary of State for Health and Social Care until he resigned in protest of Boris Johnson on 5 July 2022. Having previously served as Home Secretary and Chancellor, he is the only person on this list to have held two of the ‘Great Offices of State.’


Suella Braverman QC, 11 MPs


Having been a barrister before being elected to Parliament in 2015, Suella Braverman is the Attorney General for England and Wales and Advocate General for Northern Ireland. She has held this position since 13 February 2020, surviving multiple Cabinet reshuffles, although as a mother of two she took leave from 2 March 2021 to 10 September 2021. She returned to Parliament shortly before the 16 September reshuffle, although she had continued working from home while on leave.


Grant Shapps, 8 MPs

Grant Shapps is the Secretary of State for Transport, and has served in this role since 24 July 2019. He also served as Minister of State for International Development in 2015. Although his Cabinet portfolio may not appear as impressive as the portfolios of other members of this list, he is the only one to have served as Chairman of the Conservative Party, a position he held from 4 September 2012 to 11 May 2015.


Rehman Chishti, 0 MPs

Rehman Chishti has served as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs since 8 July 2022, having been elevated from the backbench to this role. He previously served as Vice-Chair of the Conservative Party from 8 January 2018 to 15 November 2018.


Boris Johnson has announced that he will not publicly support any candidate. Former Prime Minister Theresa May, who is still an MP, has also not indicated who she will support.


Stuart Jeffery is a freelance researcher & digital editor for 6 News. His views on personal social media pages are his & his only, and do not reflect the views of 6 News or our journalists. He abides by 6 News' editorial standards relating to fairness & accuracy.


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