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Theresa May’s successor expected to be in place by 20 July - Conservatives

The centre-right party’s chairperson Brandon Lewis spelt out the process that will select Theresa May’s replacement, after she announced that she will resign as party leader on 7 June.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May announces her resignation outside 10 Downing Street in central London on 24 May 2019. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - Britain’s governing Conservatives said on Friday that Theresa May’s successor as party leader and the prime minister was expected to be in place by parliament’s summer recess - set for 20 July.

The centre-right party’s chairperson Brandon Lewis said nominations among MPs would close in the week, beginning 10 June, before party members choose between the top two candidates “in time for the result to be announced before parliament rises for the summer”.

Lewis spelt out the process that will select May’s replacement, after she announced that she will resign as party leader on 7 June and stay on as prime minister until her successor is chosen.

He said that after nominations close, successive rounds of voting among MPs will whittle the contenders down to a final two.

“We expect that process to be concluded by the end of June,” Lewis said.

That would allow for hustings around the country and then a ballot of party members in time for the result to be revealed before parliament’s mid-year break.

The statement appeared conscious that the party could face criticism over the fact that Britain’s new premier will be chosen by a relatively small group: the paid-up party faithful.

“We are deeply conscious that the Conservatives are not just selecting the person best placed to become the new leader of our party, but also the next prime minister,” it said.

“That is a solemn responsibility, particularly at such an important time for our nation.

“We will, therefore, propose that the leadership election and hustings involve opportunities for non-members and people who may not yet vote Conservative to meet the candidates and put their questions to them too.”

The statement paid tribute to May, saying they were “saddened by her decision but understand it”, and thanked her for her service.

“She has shown great dedication, courage and tenacity. She embodies the finest qualities of public service and, with this decision, has once again demonstrated her strong sense of duty and devotion to the national interest.”

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