As more and more candidates pile into the Conservative leadership race, one big question is what this means for the length of the contest.
Whilst in normal circumstances we might expect it to be conducted over the summer, with the new leader installed in time for this autumn’s party conference. But with the next Brexit deadline looming in October it seems wise to give them as much time as possible to prepare for it.
That may be why our panellists so strongly favour having the contest done and dusted by the start of the summer recess. The parliamentary break would offer breathing room to construct a new Cabinet and try to puzzle a way through either to passing the Withdrawal Agreement, securing a no-deal exit, or an autumn election.
Such an approach seems eminently sensible. But if the Party is not to deny itself a full-length contest between the two finalists – and 2016 strongly suggests the unwisdom of such a move – then it may need to find a way to accelerate the early rounds of MP ballots if it is to prevent the sheer number of candidates from dragging out the contest.