As we write this morning, the timetable looks roughly as follows –
- Today, May 24: Graham Brady meets the Prime Minister, and it is announced that she will step down as Conservative leader on June 10.
- Sunday May 26: European election results announced.
- Monday June 3: Donald Trump’s state visit begins.
- Tuesday June 4: The Commons returns.
- Wednesday June 5: Trump’s state visit ends.
- Thursday June 6: Peterborough by-election.
- Monday June 10: Theresa May steps down as Conservative leader.
There is no reason why the Parliamentary stage of the consequent leadership election could not begin on Tuesday June 11, with two or even more ballots a day taking place if necessary. There is no intrinsic reason why that stage could not be complete by Thursday June 13.
Some senior members of the voluntary party, and some in CCHQ, will want the membership stage of the election to run through August until September, with the new leader introduced to the world at Party Conference on September 29.
We believe that most members will want instead to get on with it, and appreciate that the Party does not have in Government the luxury of time it has in opposition. It would be good neither for the Conservatives nor the country to have a lame duck Prime Minister in Downing Street until the autumn. The election should conclude by the time Parliament rises for the summer recess.