Liz Truss’s tenure as prime minister has ended in record time, and an accelerated leadership contest has been announced to replace her.
In her resignation speech, Truss said a contest would take place within a week. While the exact process for the contest has yet to be revealed, it seems unlikely that there will be a repeat of the two-month marathon contest that followed the toppling of Boris Johnson.
Under current Conservative Party rules, those wishing to stand for leader must put themselves forward to a vote by the 357 members of the parliamentary party. The top two candidates from that process go forward to a second round of grassroots party members.
It seems clear that won’t happen this time. Instead, there is speculation that a new leader will likely be chosen by Conservative MPs alone, without going to the membership.
A so-called unity candidate who can claim to mend the fissures in the party will likely look to garner enough support among MPs to win the race quickly.
Details of how exactly the contest will occur will be announced soon.
But such a rushed process will only increase opposition calls for a general election; it is virtually unprecedented, in peacetime, for a third prime minister to take charge since the last general election.
Truss was chosen by a few thousand Conservative members – if her successor is chosen by just 357 Tory MPs, the Labour Party will undoubtedly demand the leader seek a fresh mandate at the ballot box.