London, July 13: Eight candidates are in race to replace British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as transport secretary Grant Shapps, former health secretary Sajid Javid and foreign office minister Rehman Chishti have withdrawn their candidatures from the contest.
Eight candidates will compete in the first round of voting as all of them secured the support of at least 20 members of the Conservative faction of the UK House of Commons. The registration of candidates for the post of Tory Party leader has been completed, a media report said, adding that the official registration ended at 18.00 local time (17:00 GMT).
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Initially, 11 candidates launched their bids to become the Conservative Party's next leader, with International Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, and former Health Secretary Sajid Javid among the frontrunners.
However, three of them — transport secretary Grant Shapps, former health secretary Sajid Javid and former deputy chairman of the Conservative Party Rehman Chishti withdrew from the race.
The potential contenders who managed to get into the first round of voting are former treasury secretary Rishi Sunak, foreign secretary Liz Truss, treasury secretary Nadhim Zahawi, former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, minister of state for trade policy Penny Mordaunt, House of Commons Committee chairman Tom Tugendhat, Attorney General of England and Wales, Suella Braverman and former minister of state for equalities Kemi Badenoch, Sputnik reported. Any candidate who fails to secure the support of 30 MPs in the first ballot will be eliminated.
The new Conservative leader will be chosen in a two-stage election, in which the 358 Conservative lawmakers reduce the race to two candidates through a series of elimination votes.
Most of the contenders have vowed to cut taxes, ranging from corporation tax to income tax, as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite in Britain.
Graham Brady, the head of the members' committee of the UK Conservative Party, announced on Monday that the first round of voting among Conservative MPs would commence on July 13.
Boris Johnson replaced Theresa May as prime minister in 2019 and announced on July 7 that he was stepping down as prime minister and leader of the UK Conservative Party, reported Sputnik. The contenders will need to receive 30 votes during the first round of voting to enter the second ballot.
The number of contenders will be whittled down to two before MPs break up for the summer recess on July 21 and the final two contenders will then go through a postal ballot of all the Conservative members, numbering around 200,000, over the summer and the winner will become the new Tory leader and UK's next Prime Minister.
A total of 58 ministers quit the government following an ethics scandal which ultimately forced the UK premier to resign. Johnson, 58, managed to remain in power for almost three years, despite allegations that he was too close to party donors, that he protected supporters from bullying and corruption allegations, and that he misled Parliament and was dishonest to the public about government office parties that broke pandemic lockdown rules.
Johnson would continue to remain in office until October as caretaker prime minister until a new Tory leader is elected. Johnson, who won a landslide victory in the general elections in 2019, lost support after he was caught in a string of scandals, including the Partygate scandal and Pincher scandal involving his appointment of a politician accused of sexual misconduct.