What happens if the PM quits? Replacement selection process

Johnson will continue to serve as prime minister until a replacement is elected, which is expected to happen by October

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“The Prime Minister has spoken to Graham Brady and has agreed to step down in time for a new leader to be installed by the October conference,” a No.10 source said.

Later today, Johnson will officially announce his decision to the nation.

But what happens next? Who will lead the country after Johnson and how will he be chosen?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What’s happening now?

Despite warnings from his cabinet mates that this was unsustainable, the prime minister had decided to ignore his critics and remain in power.

Johnson will continue to serve as prime minister until a replacement is elected, predicted at the Conservative Party convention in October.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street for PMQs on July 6 (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

During the summer recess, Johnson will continue to serve as acting prime minister while the Conservative Party holds leadership elections.

By September, the Tories and the nation should most likely have a new leader.

How is the new leader elected?

Both Conservative Party members and Conservative MPs have significant influence over the election of the new leader.

Through a voting process, Tory MPs will narrow the field of candidates to just two, after which party members decide which of the two they prefer.

A leader who resigns is typically unqualified under regulations to run in upcoming leadership elections, so Johnson is unlikely to run for leader again.

Could he be out earlier than autumn?

The prime minister’s critics argue that he cannot remain in office until the autumn

George Freeman, the former Science Secretary who announced his resignation on Thursday morning (July 7), said Johnson should apologize to the Queen and propose that she appoint a sitting Prime Minister.

He tweeted: “Boris Johnson must surrender the seals of office, apologize to Her Majesty and advise her to appoint a sitting Prime Minister.

“To take over today so that ministers can get back to work and we can elect a new Conservative leader who will try to repair the damage and rebuild confidence.”

In that case, Johnson would be in office for a shorter time than his predecessor Theresa May.

Johnson is the third Conservative Prime Minister to be ousted by internal infighting in the past six years.

A disagreement over Europe saw David Cameron lose his bet on Brexit and resign, while Theresa May was unable to get her fractious MPs together on strategies for implementing the referendum results.

Can there be general elections?

There are indications that Johnson’s successor will be under pressure to call snap elections to gain his own mandate.

The next UK general election is currently scheduled for Thursday 2nd May 2024.

However, the date of the election could change, a quick poll will be announced beforehand.

That is exactly what happened in 2019, when Johnson risked calling a snap general election to increase his parliamentary majority and end months of deadlock over Brexit.

Who is the Deputy Prime Minister?

The current Deputy Prime Minister is Dominic Raab, who was given the role in September 2021.

Raab is the first person to be appointed Deputy Prime Minister since Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats who served as junior coalition partner with David Cameron’s Conservatives between 2010 and 2015.

The prime minister is not required to appoint a deputy and many have opted not to, including David Cameron during his second term and Theresa May.

Although the official title of deputy prime minister is not always used, what is generally understood is a ‘de facto deputy’, sometimes given the title of first foreign minister.

The Deputy Prime Minister’s main job is to represent the government at PMQs and chair cabinet meetings when the Prime Minister is absent.

There is no successor plan for the Deputy Prime Minister.