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UK: Rules announced for upcoming leadership election

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LONDON,UNITED KINGDOM - UK Prime Minister Liz Truss is seen making resignation statement outside 10 Downing Street after 44 days in office in London, United Kingdom on October 20, 2022. (Stringer - Anadolu Agency)
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Oct 21, 2022 - 02:55 AM

LONDON (AA) – Sir Graham Brady, chair of the influential 1922 committee of backbench Conservative MPs, said on Thursday candidates seeking to replace Liz Truss as Conservative Party leader and prime minister will need at least 100 nominations from their fellow MPs.

This is a very high bar, and the move is intentionally designed to limit the number of candidates to three and ensure an expedited leadership campaign.

“We fixed a high threshold but a threshold that should be achievable by any serious candidate who has a prospect of going through,” Sir Graham said.

Earlier in the day, he said: “I have spoken to the party chairman, Jake Berry, and he has confirmed that it will be possible to conduct a ballot and conclude a leadership election by Friday the 28th of October. So we should have a new leader in place before the fiscal statement which will take place on the 31st.”

Truss will stay as prime minister until then.

The last leadership election lasted six weeks and involved multiple rounds of voting and leadership debates.

The final round of voting by MPs, before the final two candidates went to the party membership, saw former chancellor Rishi Sunak secure 137 nominations from MPs, Truss 113, and government minister Penny Mordaunt 105.

Nominations for the current leadership election are open from now until Monday 2 p.m.

The final two candidate will have one leadership debate organized with media outlets, before members vote in an online ballot. MPs will choose the final two candidates, but members will have the final say.

Sunak was the preferred candidate of MPs, but members picked Truss.

Sunak warned repeatedly that Truss’s unorthodox economic views would tank the British economy, and local media report that many Conservative MPs are seeking out a unity candidate so the vote does not go to the membership.

No candidate has declared thus far, but the three top contenders talked about in local media are Sunak, Mordaunt, and Truss’s predecessor former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson was ousted by his party just six weeks ago following a series of scandals, including being found guilty of breaking his own lockdown rules.

Regardless of who wins, there are growing calls for a general election, not least from opposition parties.

Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said the Conservative Party “no longer has a mandate to govern” and called for a general election, adding: “Britain is not their personal fiefdom to run how they wish.”

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