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Theresa May has officially resigned as Conservative leader - triggering race for No 10

Until a party leader is chosen, May will remain Prime Minister.

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER Theresa May has officially resigned as leader of the Conservative Party. 

The Joint Acting Chairs of the 1922 Committee are now inviting nominations from Conservative members of Parliament who wish to stand for election as the next party leader. 

Until a party leader is chosen, May will remain Prime Minister. 

11 Conversation MPs have declared their intention to stand to replace May, including former foreign minister Boris Johnson. However, some are expected to drop out of the race before the Monday 5pm deadline for nominations. 

“Following notification from the Prime Minister Theresa May MP that she has resigned as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party, (we) are inviting nominations from those Conservative members of parliament who wish to stand for election as the next party leader,” the committee in charge of the contest said.

The winner will have only a few months to decide whether to try to salvage May’s plan, delay Brexit again – or sever ties with Britain’s closest trading partner with no agreement at all.

May took office after the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU and has spent the past three years working on a departure plan, delaying Brexit twice to try to get the deal through.

However, she finally acknowledged defeat in a tearful resignation speech last month.

May formally relinquished her leadership in a private letter to her party today. 

She spent the day in her constituency west of London. No official event took place and there was no statement from her 10 Downing Street office.

Earlier this week, May hosted US President Donald Trump for a state visit, before him and other world leaders to mark 75 years since the D-Day landings.

“She remains prime minister for a good few weeks yet,” May’s spokesman has said, noting that any successor must meet the Queen and assure the head of state that they have the support of enough lawmakers to take over.

New leader

The rules for electing the party leader will see 330 Conservative MPs select a choice of two candidates. Those two candidates are then put to the wider party, made up of about 120,000 members.

To get on the ballot in the first place, a candidate will have to secure the public backing of eight other MPs.

Then, in each round of voting among MPs, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is knocked out until only two remain.

These votes are via a secret ballot and the first round of voting takes place on Thursday 13 June.

But under the new rules, any candidate who does not secure a certain number of votes in each round will also be eliminated, even if they are not bottom of the list.

In the first round, any candidate who doesn’t receive the votes of at least 17 MPs will be eliminated. In the second vote scheduled for 18 June, candidates must receive the support of 33 MPs to proceed.

Further votes are scheduled for 19 and 20 June with party members then getting the chance to question the remaining candidates in a series of hustings.

It’s anticipated the membership will complete their voting on the new leader by mid-July.

Channel 4 will host a live Conservative leadership debate on Sunday 16 June at 6.30pm. 

With reporting by Rónán Duffy and - © AFP 2019

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