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2022 – autumn contest

On 20 October 2022 Liz Truss announced she was resigning as leader of the Party. This followed days of speculation about her position in the wake of the Government’s Growth Plan of 23 September and its subsequent withdrawal of most of its provisions.

She announced she had agreed with the Chair of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, there would a leadership “election within the next week”, requiring a modified leadership election process. She will remain Prime Mininster until a new leader is chosen.

Nominations closed at 2PM on Monday 24 October 2022. Each candidate needed 100 nominations from Conservative MPs. These could be submitted by email or physically. There were 357 Conservative MPs at the time nominations were open.

Had there been more than one candidate votes would have been held on the afternoon of 24 October. If only one candidate secured the required nominations Sir Graham Brady confirmed there would be no confirmatory vote of Party members and the candidate will be confirmed leader on Monday 24 October 2022.

Over the weekend three candidates emerged, Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson, and Penny Mordaunt. On Sunday 23 October, Boris Johnson announced he would withdraw. Just before the 2PM deadline on 24 October, Penny Mordaunt tweeted that she was also withdrawing.

Shortly after the deadline, Sir Graham Brady announced that there had been only one valid nomination received and that Rishi Sunak had been elected as leader of the Conservative Party. Sunak was appointed Prime Minister by the King the following day.


The leader of the Party must be a sitting MP.

Conservative Party leadership elections usually consist of two stages:

  • Stage 1 – Conservative MPs choose two candidates to put forward to stage two.
  • Stage 2 – Party members are balloted. The candidate with the most votes wins.

A leadership contest will occur if a sitting leader resigns or if they lose a vote of no confidence of MPs.

A vote of no confidence in a sitting leader must be held if 15% of Conservative MPs write to the chairman of the 1922 Committee saying they no longer have confidence in the leader. The current 15% threshold is 54 MPs. MPs may withdraw letters at any time.

The rules for votes of no confidence are a matter for the 1922 Committee and are not available in the public domain.

Stage 1

The rules and procedures for stage 1 of a leadership election are determined by the Executive of the 1922 Committee in consultation with the Conservative Party Board. This will include how an MP can be validly nominated.

The rules are not in a publicly available document. Each time a leadership election is held the chair of the 1922 Committee will announce the rules to be followed and the timetable.

If there are more than two candidates the field is whittled down. This will usually involve a series of ballots, depending on the number of candidates. If multiple ballots are required, the candidate(s) with the lowest vote is/are eliminated and MPs are re-balloted until only two candidates remain.

In 2019 there were initially 10 candidates in the first ballot and six rounds of balloting were required before the final two candidates were known.

In the event of only one candidate being successfully nominated they become leader of the Party. However, they may be subject to a vote of Party members to ratify the result.

Stage 2

The two MPs selected in stage 1 face a ballot of Party members. This is done on the basis of one member one vote. The candidate who receives the most votes wins.


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