The resignation of Liz Truss on Thursday after a disastrous six weeks in office has rolled the ball in the race to become the next Conservative Party leader.
The new leader, who will become the UK’s prime minister as head of the largest political party in the House of Commons, is expected to be announced on Friday 28 October, according to a Conservative official in charge of the process.
The opposition Labor Party, which is on track to a landslide victory in the polls, immediately called for an early general election.
“After 12 years of Tory failure, the British people deserve much better than this revolving door of chaos,” said its leader Kiel Sturmer after the Truss resigned. We need a general election.”
But even as the UK prepares to have its fifth prime minister in six years, it is uncertain whether new elections will take place.
Instead, the Conservative Party is looking to elect its third leader since the last general election in 2019.
The last Conservative leadership election took almost two months, longer than Mr Truss will spend as prime minister, but the next election will be quick.
Graham Brady, leader of the 1922 Committee, which represents General Conservative MPs in Parliament, announced that a new leader would be elected by next Friday.
Brady said he would need at least 100 nominations from Conservative MPs to replace Truss. His needing 100 approvals to advance to the race effectively narrows the range of potential contenders to a maximum of three.
Brady said a new party leader and prime minister could be elected by Monday if only one candidate emerges.
However, if more than one candidate crosses this threshold, they will be put into the party membership by a simple online vote when a new prime minister is announced next Friday.
The competition will end in time for the UK Finance Minister’s important economic statement due on 31st October.
In a statement on Thursday, Sturmer said: “The Tories cannot respond to the recent turmoil by simply snapping their fingers and shuffling people at the top without the consent of the British public.
But there may still be two years left before the British public can agree to the next general election.
As long as the government can earn the confidence of the House of Representatives, it can decide when to hold elections. Despite the turmoil, the Conservatives have a healthy 71-man majority in Parliament, making it unlikely that Conservative MPs will voluntarily choose an election that could cost them their jobs. .
The Conservatives are now trailing Labor at virtually historic levels in the polls.
Many Conservative MPs have expressed despair over the state of their party, but it remains to be seen whether the potential votes in the general election will bring enough Conservative MPs to join Labor. work.
The next national poll does not have to be conducted until January 2025 at the latest, and is generally expected to be conducted in mid-2024, when the UK holds a general election.
The government will need parliament to give the go-ahead to plans for a new vote, and as soon as that happens the six-week election campaign period will begin.
However, the question of a general election is certain to dominate British politics and haunt the new prime minister.