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Factbox: How will Britain's Conservative Party choose PM May's successor?

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Theresa May said on Friday she would quit, setting up a contest that will bring a new prime minister to power who could pursue a cleaner break with the European Union.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, Conservative Party's leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsome and Britain's Attorney General Geoffrey Cox react at the House of Commons in London, Britain March 29, 2019. ©UK Parliament/Mark Duffy/Handout via REUTERS

May said she would resign as Conservative Party leader on Friday, June 7 and the process for electing a new leader would begin the following week. The winner will become party leader and prime minister.

May’s announcement does not trigger a parliamentary election.

Here is how that process, which is overseen by the party’s 1922 Committee, is expected to work:

CANDIDATES NOMINATED: Week Commencing June 10

Candidates putting themselves forward for the leadership must be nominated by two other Conservative lawmakers. The party said it expects nominations to close in the week beginning June 10. Many Conservatives appear to be jostling to replace May so there could be a wide field of candidates.

BALLOT OF LAWMAKERS: Concluded by end of June

Conservatives lawmakers then hold several rounds of votes to whittle down the number of candidates. Each time they are asked to vote for their favored candidate in a secret ballot. The person with the fewest votes is eliminated.

In the past, this process has been repeated until there are two candidates remaining, with votes held on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The party said it expected this stage of the process to be completed by the end of June, but did not specify the number of candidates that would remain at the end of it.

MEMBERSHIP VOTE: Result before parliament’s summer break

The final candidates are put to a postal ballot of the wider Conservative Party membership, with the winner named the new leader.

The party said it wanted to announce the result before parliament begins its summer break, usually in late July.

The party had 124,000 members as of March 2018. It said hustings would take place during this final stage and non-members would also be given the chance to meet and question candidates.


In her speech on Friday, May said she would serve as prime minister until the leadership election process was concluded.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and William James; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Janet Lawrence