The new Labour leader will be announced on 4 April, as the party seeks a replacement for Jeremy Corbyn following his disastrous election result last month.
The ballot will run from 21 February until midday on 2 April, with the results announced the following Saturday as part of a special conference.
The party is allowing voters who are not currently members to have a say in the leadership contest if they join by next week or if they pay £25 each to register for a one-off vote.
A 48-hour window will be created to allow people to sign up as “registered supporters” with voting rights.
A Labour party spokesman said: “Our national executive committee has agreed the timetable and process for the leadership and deputy leadership elections. The ballot will run from 21 February to 2 April, with the results announced on Saturday 4 April.
“We are by far the largest political party in the UK with well over half a million members. We want as many of our members and supporters to take part, so it has been designed to be open, fair and democratic.”
So far five MPs have thrown their hats into the ring: shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, shadow minister for sustainable economics Clive Lewis, former shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy and backbencher Jess Phillips.
Starmer is currently viewed as the frontrunner in the race, despite calls for Labour to select its first female leader.
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey has not yet announced her intention to stand, but is widely expected to. Friend and flatmate Angela Rayner this morning gave Long Bailey her endorsement as she announced she was running for deputy.
Candidates must be nominated by 22 fellow MPs and MEPS by next Monday, after which they must secure nominations from local parties and from trade unions and other groups.
Under rules introduced during Corbyn’s leadership this second nomination hurdle – requires either five per cent of the union vote, equivalent to at least one of the major unions such as Unite or GMB, or by getting nominations from 10 per cent of constituency Labour parties.
Once a candidate has cleared both these hurdles, they will then enter the shortlist for the membership vote.
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