Tory leadership race timetable: What happens next after the second live TV debate?

·5 min read
MANDATORY CREDIT REQUIRED: Jonathan Hordle/ITV Handout photo issued by ITV of Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Kemi Badenoch,Tom Tugendhat and Penny Mordaunt with presenter Julie Etchingham taking part in Britain's Next Prime Minister: The ITV Debate, a head-to-head debate between Conservative party leadership candidates. Picture date: Sunday July 17, 2022.
Tory leadership candidates, from left to right, Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Kemi Badenoch, Tom Tugendhat and Penny Mordaunt with ITV debate presenter Julie Etchingham. (PA)

The five remaining hopefuls in the race to be the next Conservative Party leader and prime minister have just clashed in the second live televised debate.

Former chancellor Rishi Sunak, trade minister Penny Mordaunt, foreign secretary Liz Truss, senior backbencher Tom Tugendhat and former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch faced off against each other in Sunday evening's debate, broadcast live on ITV.

None of the candidates said they would have Boris Johnson in their cabinet if they became prime minister.

One of the five will become Johnson's successor on 5 September, but there is a lot of political manoeuvring - and one more TV debate - before then.

Here is the timetable for the race to be the next Tory leader and prime minister.

Monday, 18 July

The UK is set to swelter in a 40C heatwave at the beginning of this week, and all five candidates to be the next leader of the Conservative Party will also be sweating.

The third round of voting among Tory MPs takes place on Monday, with the candidate with the fewest votes being knocked out of the race.

Watch: Tom Tugendhat says Boris Johnson's partygate account 'more fictional than reality'

Attorney general Suella Braverman, chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and former cabinet minister Jeremy Hunt were eliminated in the first two rounds of voting.

Subsequent rounds of voting will take place over the coming days.

Tuesday, 19 July

The third live televised debate involving the remaining candidates will be broadcast on Sky News at 8pm and hosted by presenter Kay Burley.

The party's 1922 Committee is determined to reduce the number of candidates to only two by 21 July, by way of further rounds of voting.

Read more: Tory leadership race candidates turn on each other as contest heats up

Bob Blackman, joint executive secretary of the committee, told Sky News: “We’ve got to slim down the list of candidates pretty quickly to two.

“And the one thing that we’re committed to do is to achieve getting to two candidates by Thursday 21 July.

“That means that we’ll hold a succession of ballots over the next few days in order to get to that position.”

Friday, 22 July onwards

Hustings are to take place around the country over the summer to help party members determine their choice for the new Conservative leader.

Rishi Sunak at the launch of his campaign to be Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister, at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London. Picture date: Tuesday July 12, 2022.
Rishi Sunak leads after the first two rounds of voting to be next Conservative Party leader. (PA)

Blackman said it is a “condition of nomination” for candidates to agree that they will contest the ballot of party members if they reach the final two.

This is to avoid a situation as in 2016, when Dame Andrea Leadsom dropped out, handing the leadership unchallenged to Theresa May before party members were given the opportunity to vote.

Monday, 5 September

The new Conservative leader and prime minister will be announced when MPs return to Westminster from their summer break.

What have the contenders been saying?

On Sunday, Mordaunt said she is the victim of “smears” following fresh claims about her views on transgender issues.

The international trade minister rejected claims she had ever pursued a policy of self-identification for trans people seeking to legally change gender after press reports appeared showed leaked government documents suggested she had supported watering down the legal process for transitioning.

She told BBC’s Sunday Morning programme that she had never advocated ending the requirement for trans people to obtain a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria before they could legally change gender.

Penny Mordaunt at the launch of her campaign to be Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister, at the Cinnamon Club, in Westminster, London. Picture date: Wednesday July 13, 2022.
Penny Mordaunt is in second place after the first two rounds of voting in the Tory leadership race. (PA)

“This has been rebutted many times. We all know what is going on. This is the type of toxic politics people want to get away from,” she said.

Mordaunt also came under fire from supporters of former chancellor Rishi Sunak over her plans to cut taxes – halving VAT on fuel and raising income tax thresholds for those on lower and middle incomes.

Deputy prime minister Dominic Raab said candidates who were advocating tax cuts, such as Mordaunt and Truss, needed to explain how they would be paid for.

Read more: Just 11% of public recognise Tory leadership favourite Penny Mordaunt

Mordaunt remains in second place, while Truss is third, after the last round of voting.

Tugendhat, who is fighting to stay in the race after finishing fifth in the last ballot, said he represented the “clean start” the party needed after three years of Johnson’s leadership.

“In two years’ time we are going to be facing Keir Starmer in a general election,” he told the Sunday Morning programme.

“We need to make sure that all the attack lines that have been used against us in the last three years don’t come back in a general election.”

Badenoch has promised to do “whatever it takes to deal with the small boats issue” as she pitched controlling immigration at the centre of her campaign for the Tory leadership.

The former equalities minister is in fourth place but many MPs believe she is well-placed to pick up votes in the third round on Monday, having impressed many activists with her performances so far in the contest.

Her pitch came as leadership frontrunner Sunak tried to win over Brexiteers by pledging to scrap hundreds of remaining EU laws and regulations if he wins the race.

Watch: Penny Mordaunt criticises 'smears' against her in Tory leadership race

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