New prime minister to be revealed on 5 September

The new prime minister will be revealed on 5 September, dashing the hopes of many worried Conservative MPs that Boris Johnson could be forced out of No 10 sooner.

The Conservative party stuck to its expected timetable for the leadership contest – after grassroots Tories appeared to fight off the push to remove the prime minister faster.

Graham Brady, the chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, said the party’s volunteers had insisted upon “sufficient opportunities for hustings” around the country in August.

“We have reached a satisfactory agreement on that,” he told journalists – leaving Mr Johnson a further eight weeks in Downing Street for his “caretaker” period.

Candidates will require 20 nominations to enter the race – up from the ten needed during the 2019 leadership election – making it likely that several of the 11 hopefuls will fail to enter the race.

Grant Shapps, the transport, currently has only eight supporters, with former health secretary Sajid Javid and attorney general Suella Braverman (both 11) also lagging behind.

Nominations will open and close on Tuesday, with the first ballot among Conservative MPs to be staged on Wednesday and a second on Thursday.

Candidates will need 30 votes to progress through to the second ballot – to ensure they are whittled down to just two contenders by 21 July, with the final choice made by members.

Sir Graham suggested the new prime minister will be installed on 5 September, revealing discussions with Buckingham Palace to ensure the date would not “cause unnecessary inconvenience”.

The timetable was revealed as:

* With around half of the 358 Conservative MPs having declared, Rishi Sunak boasts the most supporters (38) ahead of Penny Mordaunt (24), Tom Tugendhat (20), Liz Truss (15) and Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi (both 14).

* The home secretary Priti Patel continued to mull over whether to join the leadership race – as, reportedly, did “Brexit opportunities” minister Jacob Rees-Mogg.

* A former Tory chancellor, Norman Lamont, joined criticism of the race for being dominated by calls for massive tax cuts which were unaffordable and badly-timed.

He pointed to the risk of it sparking even higher price rises, saying: “You can’t grow your way out of inflation, you’re just likely to add to it if you attempt to do that.”

* Mr Zahawi, the chancellor, nevertheless raised the stakes further – pledging to cut income tax to 18p by 2024 and scrap green levies on energy bills for two years.

* Mr Javid announced he would cut fuel duty by 10p a litre – on top of an income tax cut to 19p and reversing corporation tax and National Insurance rises.

* He also warned fellow the Tories of 1997-style “oblivion” unless they change course – but dodged questions about his past tax-avoiding non-dom status.

* Both Mr Zahawi and Liz Truss-supporter Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary admitted spending cuts would be necessary to fund tax cuts – raising the spectre of a return to austerity.

* The chair of the Conservative Net Zero Support Group, Chris Skidmore, warned there were “two weeks to save net zero” – as the climate emergency failed to feature in the race.

* Mr Johnson said he would not be endorsing a successor, because he “wouldn’t want to damage anybody’s chances by offering my support”.

* The prospect of Labour staging a no-confidence vote in Mr Johnson, in an attempt to force him out of No 10 immediately, moved a step closer – as Tory MPs pulled back from trying to eject him.

* A grassroots survey for the ConservativeHome website put Penny Mordaunt top (with 20 per cent of respondents), ahead of Kemi Badenoch (19 per cent), Mr Sunak (12 per cent) and Ms Braverman and Ms Truss (both 10 per cent).

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