2019 Conservative Party Leadership Election: Who Succeeds May?

2019 Conservative Party Leadership Election

The 2019 Conservative Party leadership election is not the leadership election Tories in Britain wanted, but the one they needed.

Editor’s Note: The second ballot is reportedly taking place on Tuesday, 18 June. A third ballot will be held on Wednesday, 19 June. The last possible MP ballots will occur on Thursday, 20 June.

Brexit has laid their government to waste. It has claimed two Conservative prime ministers, David Cameron and Theresa May, in the last three years. The last weeks and months have been less kind than her already low average to May. Early in May (the month), her party got hammered in local elections. Towards the end of the month, they got hammered again in the European Parliament elections. (Labour did not do well, either, but that’s neither here nor there.) On 6 June, her Conservatives got smashed in the Peterborough by-election.

Sure, she survived a leadership challenge at the end of 2018, but that’s of little solace to her or the Conservatives now.

Now, after the Tories cratered in the polls following parliamentary deadlock, Theresa May stepped aside and the party will choose a new leader.

May formally vacates the Conservative Party leadership on 7 June 2019. Her premiership will end at some point in July 2019, when the results of the leadership election are announced. The Tories and the United Kingdom will then have their third prime minister since 2016. Will they stick with another former Remainer or will Conservatives, frustrated at the rise of the Brexit Party, turn to a Leave leader to steamroll Brexit through to its conclusion?

During the course of the Tory leadership race, we will track who is in and who is out, and who wins the race for Number 10.

2016: The Last Tory Leadership Race

After David Cameron’s humiliation in the Brexit referendum, he cleared the deck for a new leader. That person was Theresa May, who did not have to go to a ballot of the Tory membership. She was opposed then by Andrea Leadsom, Michael Gove, Stephen Crabb, and Liam Fox. Mr. Fox was eliminated on the first ballot, Crabb quit the race, Gove was nixed on the second ballot, and then Leadsom bailed. May carried a majority of the party vote on both ballots she faced.

How The 2019 Conservative Party Leadership Election Will Work1

As of 28 May, the details are still being nailed down, but it will be the same basic format as in 2016.

There will not be only one candidate, but were there to be, that person (obviously) becomes Conservative leader and prime minister. If only two ran, it would go straight to a postal ballot.

Since we are expecting three or more to make it to the main stage for the big event, it will start with a ballot of sitting Tory MPs. Multiple ballots will be held if there are four or more contenders. The idea is that the least-favoured candidate drops off after each ballot and their votes scatter, with minimum vote thresholds each time. In the end, we will be left with two candidates, and then they go to the postal ballot of the membership.

In order to qualify, a candidate must be a member of the House of Commons.

2019 Conservative Party Leadership First Ballot

2019 Conservative Leadership First Ballot UK

Boris Johnson was the top vote-getter by a mile in the first ballot of Conservative MPs on Thursday, 13 June. He won a simple majority of MPs, which, if it holds together, guarantees him a spot in the final ballot.

Three candidates were eliminated for failing to reach the five-percent threshold: Esther McVey, Andrea Leadsom, and Mark Harper.

2019 Conservative Party Leadership Election Candidates

The following MPs are confirmed candidates as of 10 June 2019. In brackets next to the candidate’s name is how they aligned in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
These were candidates on the first ballot; the list has since whittled down.

Michael Gove [Leave]
MP for Surrey Heath (2005-pres.)
Matt Hancock [Remain]
MP for West Suffolk (2010-pres.)
Mark Harper [Remain]
MP for Forest of Dean (2005-pres.)
Jeremy Hunt [Remain]
MP for South West Surrey (2005-pres.)
Sajid Javid [Remain]
MP for Bromsgrove (2010-pres.)
Boris Johnson [Leave]
MP for Henley (2001-08), MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip (2015-pres.)
Andrea Leadsom [Leave]
MP for South Northamptonshire (2010-pres.)
Esther McVey [Leave]
MP for Wirral West (2010-15), MP for Tatton (2017-pres.)
Dominic Raab [Leave]
MP for Esher and Walton (2010-pres.)
Rory Stewart [Remain]
MP for Penrith and the Border (2010-pres.)

2019 Conservative Party Leadership Election Withdrawals

James Cleverly MP[Leave]
Withdrew on 4 June 2019
Sam Gyimah MP [Remain]
Withdrew on 10 June 2019
Kit Malthouse MP [Leave]
Withdrew on 4 June 2019


1: “Who will be the next prime minister?” (BBC News website, published 27 May 2019, accessed 28 May 2019)

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