Thursday 6 June 2019 1:22 pm

Tory leadership race: Contenders must stay until the bitter end

Tory leadership race hopefuls have been 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.

Read more: Where every Tory leadership candidate stands on HS2

Leadsom’s withdrawal saw May crowned as leader without Conservative party members getting a vote.

Speaking on Thursday morning,  the acting joint chairmen of the committee responsible for organising the upcoming leadership contest revealed they had given stern warning to hopefuls that that situation must not be repeated.

Broxborne MP Charles Walker said: “We have had the conversation with those who have indicated they are going to put their papers in.”

He added: “They all nodded, fulsomely. I think there’s a great recognition across the parliamentary party that this does need to go to the membership this time and I think those potential candidates who have indicated they wish to run are fully aware of that and hopefully relishing the prospect.”

Walker did add the caveat that it is “impossible” to force someone to stay in the race if they are determined to drop out.

Cheryl Gillan, acting as co-chair of the 1922 committee alongside Walker, set out strict rules MPs must abide by when they come to vote in the ballots – the first of which is scheduled for Thursday 13 June.

Tory MPs banned from tweeting during voting

MPs will have to bring photographic identification along to committee room 14 in parliament in order to get a ballot paper for the Tory leadership race.

And they then could be made to leave their phones with the returning officers in order avoid them posting pictures of who they have voted for on social media. 

“If they tweet it out, they will incur the wrath of the 1922,” said Gillan.

The timetable for the Tory leadership race election:

Friday 7 June  – Theresa May expected to resign as Conservative leader, but will stay on as acting leader.

Monday 10 June – Candidates submit nomination papers. They must have the support of at least eight MPs. They list of who is standing will be announced between 5.30pm and 6.30pm.

Tuesday 11 June  – The first hustings will take place between 4pm and 6pm. This will be behind-closed-doors, with only Conservative MPs allowed to attend.

Thursday 13 June – First round of voting, between 10am and 12pm. The result will be announced at 1pm. Any candidate with 16 votes or fewer will be eliminated.

If all candidates get above 16 votes, the person with the lowest number will be eliminated. If there is a tie for last place but the candidates have above 16 votes: the 1922 acting chairmen will hold a meeting with them to see if any will drop out. If no one does, the ballot will be re-run.

Monday 17 June – Second hustings, between 3pm and 7pm.

Tuesday 18 June – Second round of voting, between 3pm and 5pm, with the result announced at 6pm. Any candidate with 32 votes or fewer will be eliminated, with the same process in place relating to a tie for bottom place.

Wednesday 19 June – Third round of voting, between 3pm and 5pm, with the result announced at 6pm. The candidate with the fewest vote will be eliminated.

Read more: Tory leadership rivals caught in war of words

Thursday 20 June – Fourth round of voting between 10am and 12pm. The result will be announced at 1pm. The candidate with the fewest vote will be eliminated. If needed, a fifth round of voting will held between 3.30pm and 5.30pm. 

When only two candidates remain in the Tory leadership race, hustings events will be held around the country for a month as the hopefuls bid to win the votes of Conservative party members.

Thursday 22 July – Provisional date for the announcement of the new Prime Minister.