The race to replace British Prime Minister Boris Johnson accelerated on Sunday when five other candidates declared their intention to run, many of them vowing to cut taxes and cast aside Johnson’s scandal-plagued leadership.
Johnson had announced on Thursday that he would resign as prime minister, after lawmakers and cabinet colleagues revolted over his handling of a series of scandals, including breaching confinement rules at meetings in his Downing Street office.
Johnson said he would stay until a new leader is chosen.
A member of the Conservative Party committee that sets the rules for leadership elections said on Sunday that the final result would be announced in September.
Commerce Secretary Penny Mordaunt officially declared her candidacy on Sunday, joining Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps; Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi and former ministers Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid, who announced their candidacies in time to appear in Sunday’s newspapers, bringing the total contender to nine.
“This is a critical turning point for our country. I think a socialist or socialist-led coalition government in the next election would be a disaster for the UK,” Mordaunt said in a statement. “We must win the next election.”
The Conservative Party’s 1922 Lawmakers Committee, which sets the party’s rules in Parliament, will set the exact timetable after a meeting on Monday.
Bob Blackman, a member of the 1922 Committee executive, said nominations will close Tuesday night, followed by a process to narrow down the candidates to the bottom two by July 21.
Party members will elect a new leader over the summer, who will become prime minister.
“On July 21 we will select the final two candidates, so that party members have enough time to hold voting sessions and a mail-in vote to elect a new leader on September 5,” he told Sky News.