Theresa May has officially resigned as leader of the Conservative party paving the way for the leadership contest to begin on Monday.
May will remain ‘acting leader’ of the party and Prime Minister until her successor is elected on 22 July.
Read more: Theresa May resigns – what happens next?
The Tory backbench 1922 committee confirmed her resignation in a short statement this afternoon and announced that nominations for the leadership contest would close at 5pm on Monday.
It comes just two weeks after she resigned in an emotional speech outside 10 Downing Street, in which she said it was a matter of a “deep regret” that she could not deliver Brexit.
She added that her successor would have to find a consensus where she had not.
Boris Johnson remains the frontrunner and bookies’ favourite to replace May, followed by Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, Andrea Leadsom and then Dominic Raab.
Earlier this week the hopefuls were told they must be prepared to stay in the contest until the bitter end to avoid a repeat of the coronation of Theresa May as party leader in 2016.
May won the race to succeed David Cameron three years ago when leadership rival Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the contest after making it to the final two.
So far the candidates’ positions on Brexit have unsurprisingly dominated proceedings.
Raab caused controversy earlier this week by saying he would be ready as Prime Minister to suspend parliament so he could force a no-deal departure from the EU.
Fellow candidate Rory Stewart hit back claiming the plan was “illegal.”
Frontrunner Boris Johnson has made it clear that under her leadership Britain would leave the EU on 31 October “deal or no deal.”
Meanwhile environment secretary Michael Gove has said he would delay Brexit beyond Halloween in a bid to win over moderate Tories and Remainers.
Calling a no-deal Brexit “not the best option”, he added: “Are we seriously saying we wouldn’t take a bit more time to get the deal done?”
Rival Esther McVey added that were she to win the contest, she would only choose Brexiters to serve in her cabinet, while Jeremy Hunt said he would accept no deal “with a heavy heart.”