With the shock resignation of Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party, an electorate of about 200,000 will pick the UK’s next Prime Minister. 

This may have left you with questions such as how does it work? Who is taking part? And when will a winner be announced?

How and When?

Taking the final question first, nominations open and close today, but to enter the first round, MPs wanting to be PM will need to secure the support of at least 20 MPs.

Through a series of challenges, designed to test their skills and ability to think on their feet, the competitors will be whittled down week by week until we have a new PM. Actually, wait, no that’s Bake Off. 

Ah here we go, so having got 20 MPs to support their nomination, chairman of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady, who is essentially the referee in all this, says candidates will need 30 MPs to progress to the next round. 

The first round of ballots is expected on Wednesday, with the second ballot on Thursday. 

If they haven’t whittled down (Tory speak for stabbed each other in the back) the number of candidates by next week then it is likely that the third round will be next Monday, with July 21 down as the day when the final two candidates will be selected. 

Following this, there will be a postal ballot of Tory members, with the new leader and PM being announced on September 5. 


We’ll take a closer look at their policies once the field is thinned out a tad, but for now, there are 11 known candidates and what we know about them at first glance. 

Kemi Badenoch: Was minister for levelling up under Michael Gove, promises low regulation and tax cuts, critical of net zero emissions target. It may not be her time, but definitely a future name. 

Suella Braverman: The current AG who called for Boris to go and said she wanted his job on live TV, she wants to take the UK out of the European Court of Human Rights and cut VAT on energy. Almost definitely would be called Cruella by the Mirror and/or the Guardian. 

Rehman Chisti: He’s been an MP since 2010, but stood for Labour in 2005, launched his bid with a video on Twitter, and was recently promoted to foreign office minister. Seems alright, but the previous Labour history surely has to rule him out. 

Jeremy Hunt: Came second to Boris in 2019, former health secretary, has made a good profile for himself by sitting outside the Cabinet pointing out where they’ve gone wrong. His pledge to bring back fox hunting ensures his name remains rhyming slang for all the right reasons. 

Sajid Javid: Quit Boris’ government twice, said he wants to bring forward next year’s planned 1p income tax cut, cut corporation tax and fuel duty and scrap the National Insurance increase. His mum famously wanted him to be a doctor, but PM must be a decent runner-up prize, could go far. 

Penny Mourdant: First UK female defence secretary and naval reservist. Once read out a speech where she said the word cock six times as a forfeit from her navy pals. Former magician’s assistant and Splash! contestant. All round a bit of a badass, likely to be in the mix at the end. 

Priti Patel: Ruled herself out

Grant Shapps: ALREADY OUT

Rishi Sunak: Formerly chancellor and almost certainly the front runner. His reputation was dented by the controversy over his wife’s tax affairs, his holding an American Green Card while chancellor and being fined for breaching lockdown rules. His work during the pandemic made him a household name and he is likely to be the one to beat. 

Liz Truss: Just go on Youtube and search Liz Truss cheese, we’ll wait while you go have a look… Welcome back, stopped laughing yet? She launched her campaign by promising immediate tax cuts, a reversal of the National Insurance increase and a long-term commitment to reducing the size of the state. Helped secure the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from Iran, may not go the distance, but likely to be in the mix near the end. 

Tom Tugendhat: Former soldier who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and widely respected across politics as chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee. Said he wanted to unite the country post-Brexit, which he arguably already has as people lined up to ask ‘who the f*** is Tom Tugendhat?’ May not be his time, but he will come again. 

Nadhim Zahawi: Born in Iraq, his family fled to the UK while Saddam Hussein was in power. After setting up a company that sold Teletubbies merch, he set up the polling firm YouGov. Performed very well as vaccines minister and long been seen as someone who would be at the top of government. He’s not seen as one of the favourites, but if he can survive the early rounds then he could emerge as a consensus candidate.