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When will there be a new British prime minister? Here's what you need to know

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are the last two men standing, as a Brexit deadline looms.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt pictured in the House of Commons in June 2018.
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt pictured in the House of Commons in June 2018.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

THE NEW CONSERVATIVE Party leader, and British prime minister, is due to be announced later this month.

No more than Brexit itself, the process has been quite drawn out. So, what exactly is the timeline at this stage? 

The plan is for Theresa May’s successor to be announced on 23 July. May is expected to officially hand in her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II the following day.

Her replacement will either be Boris Johnson (the clear frontrunner, according to polls) or Jeremy Hunt, who succeeded Johnson as Foreign Secretary.

The men were chosen from a field of 10 after a series of votes by the Conservative Party’s 313 MPs.

Hustings have been held across the UK in recent weeks, with a final one due to take place in London on 17 July.

Ultimately, the new leader will be chosen by the Tory party’s some 160,000 members. Ballots were sent to members earlier this month and the deadline for voting is 5pm on 22 July.

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party could call an immediate vote of confidence in the new prime minister once they take up the role, to force them to prove they have the support to govern.

This would have to happen by 25 July when parliament is due to begin its summer break, or wait until MPs return on 3 September.

Brexit deadline 

The Conservatives do not have a majority in the House of Commons, but govern through an alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party.

May announced her resignation last month after failing to get her Brexit deal through parliament, faced with opposition from both Conservative MPs and the DUP.

Many politicians have raised concerns about the backstop element of the Withdrawal Agreement, which aims to avoid a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland and could see the North stay aligned to some EU rules.

The DUP, which campaigned in favour of Brexit, believes the backstop threatens the UK and could lead to a trade border in the Irish Sea.

The new Prime Minister is expected to attend the G7 summit in Biarritz in France from 25-27 August. They are also due to attend a European Union summit on 17 and 18 October if Britain is still in the bloc at that stage. 

Barring a third postponement or an earlier departure, Britain is due to leave the EU on 31 October. Plans are being made at British, Irish and European levels in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

Contains reporting from © – AFP 2019

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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