Cotswold MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown explains the Conservative Leadership timetable ahead

Theresa May has formally stepped down as Conservative Party leader after announcing her resignation on May 24.

On Monday we saw the contest to replace her formally begin, but before the new Prime Minister is announced, around July 22, there will be two weeks of Parliamentary Process and four weeks of a U.K wide process.

The nominations deadline for the next leader of the Conservative Party has passed.

The 10 MPs who are running needed the support of eight colleagues to get onto the first ballot for this Thursday.

Today and tomorrow there will be the first round of hustings hosted by the 1922 Committee, this will be the leadership hopefuls first opportunity to go head to head. These hustings are held in secret for Conservative MPs.

On Thursday is the first ballot for Conservative MP’s, candidates need at least 17 votes which equals about 5 per cent of the Parliamentary Party to proceed to the next round of balloting.

At this stage if all candidates receive at least 17 votes, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is eliminated.

I expect that a couple of candidates will drop out of the race this week, either voluntarily or because they do not have enough support after this first ballot.

Looking forward to next week, on Monday June 17, there will be the second round of hustings with the second round of ballots being held the next day.

At this stage we will whittle down the candidates further as they need at least 33 votes or 10 per cent of Conservative MPs to stay as a contender.

The process is the same as the first ballot in the event all candidates receive at least 33 votes the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated.

Hopefully at this stage the number of candidates running should have reduced considerably, with many unlikely to reach the 10 per cent support or quitting the race willingly.

Subsequent rounds of balloting will take place if necessary on June 19 and 20 and if necessary more ballots to narrow down the candidates to the final two.

While Conservative Parliamentarians play an important part in consolidating the list of candidates into the final two, the ultimate deciding vote of who our next Prime Minister will be is down to approximately 160,000 Conservative Party Members.

The final two candidates will take part in at least twelve hustings across the UK for Conservative members, with two hustings being held in the south west which are only open to Conservative members. In addition, they will be televised with online question and answers open to everyone.

On Monday, July 22 , the next Prime Minister will be announced.

Theresa May will end her term by officially handing in her resignation to the Queen, our next Prime Minister will follow, and the Queen will ask them to form the next Government.

Sir Geoffrey said: “As treasurer of the 1922 Committee, which will be part of the scrutiny process, it would be inappropriate of me to declare a preference for any of the candidates.

"Our next leader should have the vision, toughness and abilities to deliver Brexit and build up a strong domestic agenda that displays our commitment as a party to issues such as education, housing and the environment.”