The new leader, who has become head of the largest party in the House of Commons and Britain’s prime minister, is expected to be announced on Friday 28 October, according to the Conservative Party official in charge of the process.
The opposition Labor Party, whose polls had set its way to a landslide victory, immediately demanded an early general election.
“After 12 years of Conservative failure, the British people deserve much better than this revolving door of chaos,” party leader Keir Starmer said after Truss’ resignation. “We need a general election now.”
But a new election is uncertain, even as Britain prepares for its fifth leader in just over six years.
Instead, the Conservative Party is on the cusp of choosing its third leader since the last general election in 2019.
While that The last election for the leadership of the Conservative Party It took nearly two months – more than Truss would spend as prime minister – the next month would be fast.
Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee, representing Conservative Members of Parliament, announced that the new leader would be chosen next Friday.
Brady said candidates to replace Truss would need at least 100 nominations from Conservative MPs. Requiring 100 endorsements to actually advance the race narrows the field of potential candidates to a maximum of three.
If only one candidate emerges, Brady said, there could be a new party leader and prime minister by Monday.
But if more than one candidate crosses that threshold, they will be put into party membership in a quick online ballot, with a new prime minister to be announced next Friday.
The competition will conclude in time for a crucial economic statement by the British chancellor, scheduled for October 31.
“The Conservatives cannot respond to the recent chaos by simply tapping once again on their fingers and shuffling people at the top without the consent of the British people,” Starmer said in a statement on Thursday.
However, the British people may still have two years to wait before they can give their consent in the next general election.
As long as the government can obtain the confidence of the House of Commons, it can decide when to call an election. For all their turmoil, the Conservatives have a healthy working majority of 71 in parliament and their MPs are unlikely to voluntarily choose an election that could lead to them losing their jobs.
At the moment, the Conservatives lag behind Labor in opinion polls by nearly historic levels, suggesting a near erasure of the party.
Although many Conservative lawmakers have expressed despair over the state of their party, it remains to be seen whether enough of them will join Labor in a potential vote for a general election – because many of these Tory MPs will actually vote themselves out of a profession.
The next nationwide poll does not need to be conducted until January 2025 at the latest, and is generally expected to take place in the middle of 2024, which is the time of year when general elections are usually held in Britain.
The government needs Parliament to give the green light to plans for a new vote, and once that happens a six-week campaign period begins.
But the question of a general election is sure to dominate British politics and hamper the new prime minister, given the whirlwind of changes at the heart of the government since the last vote.