The influential 1922 Committee of Conservative backbench MPs have changed the rules governing the party leadership race after at least 13 candidates put themselves forward to replace Theresa May. Up until now, candidates had only required the support of two fellow MPs in order to be on the first ballot. However, the party has now backed proposals which will require any MP who wants to stand to receive the support of eight other colleagues. In a move which could be significant as the rounds of voting progress, the new rules also set a threshold for how many votes each candidate will require to reach each stage of the contest.
Candidates will now require the support of at least 17 MPs in round one followed by a minimum of 33 MPs in the second ballot in order to progress in the contest. The decision comes in a bid to shorten the timeline of the appointment of a new Conservative leader and Prime Minister.
The new rules have already led to candidates dropping out of the race. Junior Brexit Minister James Cleverly was the first to pull out of the contest and he was quickly followed by Housing Minister Kit Malthouse.
In total, 313 Conservative MPs will cast their vote in subsequent rounds until there are only two candidates remaining. The first ballot will take place on Thursday 13 June, with further rounds of voting scheduled for 18, 19 and 20 of June. It will then be up to 124,000 Conservative party members to choose their next leader which is expected to conclude by the end of July.