THE Conservatives’ contest to elect a new leader and British prime minister has been whittled down to five contenders after two rounds of voting by party MPs this week.
Several further ballots of Tory lawmakers will be held next week, with the last-placed candidate and any others receiving fewer than 30 votes eliminated each time.
Here’s how the race will unfold in the coming days:
Friday, July 15
There is no scheduled vote of MPs for their preferred candidate.
But some or all of the contenders are set to take part in the first televised debate of the contest, broadcast on Channel 4.
It will start at 7:30 pm (1830 GMT) and last for 90 minutes, according to the channel.
Sunday, July 17
ITV will host the second scheduled live televised debate to be shown at 7:00 pm.
Monday, July 18
Meanwhile, a hustings for Conservative lawmakers involving the remaining five candidates is scheduled for early afternoon.
The next round of voting by Tory MPs — the third in the process — is then set to take place between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm, with the result announced at 8:00 pm.
Tuesday, July 19
If needed, a fourth round of lawmaker voting will occur between noon and 2:00 pm, with the result announced an hour later.
A third live TV debate on Sky News — originally planned for Monday — will reportedly now take place at 8:00 pm.
Wednesday, July 20
If still needed, a fifth and final ballot of Conservative MPs will be held, between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm, with the result announced an hour later.
The two leading candidates will now enter a run-off to be decided by party members.
They will embark of a summer of nationwide campaigning and hustings, with the membership now voting, including by post, for their preferred choice.
Conservative party rules only allow those who have held their membership for a minimum of three months to vote.
The party has declined to say how many members will be eligible but noted it will be more than the approximately 160,000 who voted at the last leadership contest in 2019.
Monday, September 5
The result of the vote by party members will be announced by the Conservatives, with the winner immediately becoming its new leader.
Tuesday, September 6
The newly crowned leader is expected to replace Boris Johnson in Downing Street, becoming British prime minister, after visiting Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and forming a new government.