LONDON, July 12 (Xinhua) — Eight candidates have been nominated to enter the race to be the leader of the Conservative Party and replace outgoing Boris Johnson as prime minister of the United Kingdom (UK), the party’s backbench 1922 Committee said on Tuesday.

The eight contenders who successfully enlisted the required backing of at least 20 Conservative lawmakers are: Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak; Foreign Secretary Liz Truss; International Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt; backbench lawmaker Tom Tugendhat; Attorney General Suella Braverman; newly appointed Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi; former Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch; and former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. 

The first round of voting among Tory lawmakers will be held on Wednesday and only those contenders who receive at least 30 votes can enter the second ballot, which is to be held on Thursday, according to the rules set by the 1922 Committee, which runs the leadership contest.

The number of contenders will be whittled down to two through more rounds of secret ballot, before British parliamentarians break up for the summer recess on July 21. 

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 be announced on September 5, becoming the new Tory leader and the UK’s next prime minister. 

The Tory leadership race was triggered after Johnson was forced to bow to the inevitable on Thursday by an avalanche of resignations of cabinet ministers and other junior government officials in protest against his scandal-plagued leadership.

Johnson continues to serve as caretaker prime minister until a new Tory leader succeeds him. 

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 the Chris Pincher scandal related to allegations of sexual misconduct by the former Conservative Party deputy chief whip. – Xinhua