Tory leadership race rules revealed as Rishi Sunak officially launches bid


The race to replace Boris Johnson was expected to become a scramble on Tuesday after it was revealed Tory MPs will begin the voting process for a new leader the following day.

After a meeting of the 1922 Committee Executive, Chairman Sir Graham Brady announced nominations would open and close on Tuesday – with the new Prime Minister due to be revealed on September 5.

To stand, a candidate will need the support of 20 MPs, which could make it harder for some of the lesser-known candidates to get on the ballot.

The first round of voting for MPs will then take place on Wednesday, and any candidate who fails to secure at least 30 votes is expected to drop out.

A second round of voting will follow on Thursday and further ballots will take place next week until the list of candidates is narrowed down to the final two who will go to the postal ballot of party members.

Candidates will have a campaign spending limit of £300,000, excluding travel.

The process of narrowing candidates will begin when Tory MPs start voting on Wednesday

/ AFP via Getty Images

Sir Graham said the final result would be announced on September 5, when MPs return to Westminster after their summer recess.

The demand for 20 nominations – higher than previous Conservative leadership battles – immediately casts doubt on the campaigns of several of the candidates.

Eleven MPs have so far joined the race to succeed Mr Johnson. They are Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat, Nadhim Zahawi, Kemi Badenoch, Jeremy Hunt, Suella Braverman, Sajid Javid, Grant Shapps and Rehman Chishti.

Home Secretary Priti Patel and Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg were also considering running.

Mr Sunak was due to launch his bid for prime minister on Tuesday with a pledge to cut taxes – but only once inflation is brought under control.

At his campaign launch event, the former chancellor will insist he has a plan to deal with the economic ‘headwinds’ facing the country, saying it’s a matter of ‘when’ and not “if” the tax burden begins to fall.

(PA graphics)

/ PA Graphics

Mr Sunak will receive strong support from another former Chancellor, Lord Lamont, who said Mr Sunak had the courage to take the “difficult decisions” needed to deal with the “extremely serious” economic situation.

Mr Sunak is the only contender to succeed Boris Johnson by not promising immediate tax cuts if he wins the race to become Tory leader.

He has come under attack from allies of the Prime Minister who believe his announcement last week that he was stepping down helped spark a string of resignations that forced Mr Johnson to admit his time was up.

But in his speech, Mr. Sunak will seek to make a virtue of his willingness to face difficult economic realities.

“We need a return to traditional conservative economic values ​​- and that means honesty and responsibility, not fairy tales,” he will say.

“I had to make some of the hardest choices of my life when I was chancellor, particularly how to manage our post-Covid debt and borrowing.

“I never hid from those, and I certainly won’t claim now that the choices I made and the things I voted for were somehow unnecessary. Although it may be politically inconvenient, it is the truth.

“My message to the party and the country is simple: I have a plan to lead our country through these headwinds. Once we get inflation under control, I will reduce the tax burden. It’s a question of “when”, not “if”.

The Tories vying to replace Mr Johnson battled to announce uncosted ‘fantastic tax cuts’ on Monday as a competitor waded into the ‘toxic’ battle.

Mr Javid, whose Cabinet resignation sparked the stunt that forced the Prime Minister out, warned rivals: ‘This is not House Of Cards’.

He outlined plans estimated at £40billion to scrap the rise in corporation tax and the National Insurance (NI) tax he previously supported and to propose a cut in corporate tax. revenue.

The former health secretary’s proposals have come with details of where the money will come from, but other MPs fighting for No 10 have been criticized for not showing how they work.

On Monday, the Conservative bidding war included:

– Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi pledges to cut income tax in 2023 and 2024 and remove green levies on energy bills for two years.

– Attorney General Suella Braverman argued there was “no alternative but sweeping tax cuts” amid a cost of living crisis.

– Foreign Secretary Liz Truss promises to cut taxes “from day one” and scrap the NI hike that hit in April.

– Jeremy Hunt, who served as both Health and Foreign Secretary, expressing a desire to ‘cut all taxes’ in an interview with BBC Breakfast.

A row has erupted between the campaigns, with Robert Jenrick criticizing his rivals for promising unachievable tax cuts at a time when the party’s “credibility” is under strain.

The former cabinet minister, who backs Mr Sunak, told Times Radio that ‘announcing fanciful tax cuts to help pass a leadership election, I think, is unwise’.

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has accused the Tories of taking £200bn of unpriced pledges from the ‘magic money tree’ in a ‘fantasy economy arms race’.

Mr. Javid, former chancellor, officially launched his campaign with a “new Conservative economic plan” including the elimination of the rise in corporate tax from 19% to 25%.

He argued that his three tax cuts which he said would cost around £40billion in 2024/25 would be paid for within the government’s current fiscal room and ‘new efficiencies’.

But he was plagued with questions about his non-domiciled status before entering politics.

Mr Javid, who worked in banking, declined to say where he was based for tax purposes when asked if he used tax havens.

He warned the Tories would face ‘electoral oblivion’ if they did not change, as he urged his colleagues to ‘pull themselves together’.

Mr Johnson blamed the ‘herd’ for his resignation as Tory leader, but Mr Javid insisted he quit Cabinet altogether because it was the ‘right thing to do’.

“It wasn’t because I could hear the hooves of a herd. On the contrary, I expected half the herd to turn and charge at me,” he said.

Ms Braverman and Mr Zahawi gave speeches to the Tory group Thatcherite Way Forward as they try to win support from fellow MPs, ahead of Tory members voting for the next Prime Minister.

The attorney general dismissed critics’ warnings that cutting taxes too quickly would be a bad move, arguing that “in a cost of living crisis with spiraling costs, we know there is no alternative to drastic tax cuts”.

Mr Zahawi, who was appointed chancellor shortly before pushing Mr Johnson to resign, said taxes and spending had ‘skyrocketed’ for ‘too many years’.

He said he would cut income tax to 19p next year and 18p the following year.

Ms Truss, seen as one of the likely favourites, officially entered the race with a nifty video under the tagline ‘Trusted to deliver’.

The Foreign Secretary highlighted her work on trade deals and the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol Bill and said a Prime Minister ‘with experience, who can hit the ground running on the first day” is necessary, in a possible dig at rivals without Cabinet experience.

She told the Daily Telegraph she would ‘start cutting taxes from day one’ and reduce the National Insurance hike introduced in April, mirroring a promise from rival Sajid Javid.

One of his main supporters, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, admitted that public spending would have to be cut to meet promises of tax cuts.

He conceded to BBC Radio 4’s Today program “there must be spending cuts” to fund the tax cuts, but declined to say which services would be affected.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has released an eye-catching video appealing to Tory MPs who will whittle down candidates by touting his background as an activist.

As the Tories feared losing their jobs after Mr Johnson led the party to a terrible recent election performance, Mr Shapps told MPs: ‘I can help you win your seat.

Mr Johnson insisted the outcome of the bid to replace him “will be good” despite several candidates working to oust him, but he refused to back any of the candidates.

“I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s chances by offering my support,” he told broadcasters during a visit to the Francis Crick Institute in London.

Tom Tugendhat, the chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee who has never been a cabinet minister, has pledged to cut taxes on jobs and fuel and touted his candidacy as a “good start”.

The 1922 Committee of Backbenchers will elect a new executive committee on Monday, before setting a timetable for the leadership race.

An announcement on the leadership campaign schedule is expected to follow later in the evening.

The process could be tightened so that the final two candidates can be elected by Tory MPs before the Commons enters summer recess on July 21.

It would give the chosen pair the summer to campaign for the support of Conservative Party members, who ultimately select the next prime minister.


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