All you need to know about how the next UK Prime Minister will be chosen

With Boris Johnson confirming he will not be standing for a return to number 10, and Penny Mordaunt facing a race against time to get the necessary backing of 100 MPs, Rishi Sunak could be confirmed as the next Prime Minister as early as 2pm today (October 24).

Here is a rundown of the process which will determine the next leader of the Conservative Party and the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Who is in the running?

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After Boris Johnson confirmed last night that he will not be running for a return to the position he only vacated last month, former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and current Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt are the only current MPs to declare they are standing for nomination to become the next Tory Party leader and Prime Minister.

Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak are both hoping to be the next Prime Minister Photograph: DANIEL LEAL via Getty Images

How many MPs are needed to back each candidate ?

To officially be in the running for Prime Minister, each candidate must firstly receive the backing of 100 of the current 357 Conservative MPs, meaning a maximum of three candidates can be nominated for the UK’s top political job. Current BBC figures show that former Chancellor Rishi Sunak has the confirmed public backing of 155 MPs while Ms Mordaunt has 25 - although her supporters say the actual undeclared figure is far higher and closer to the required 100.

Nominations will close at 2pm today (October 24).

What happens if a candidate doesn’t get 100 MP nominations?

If by 2pm only one candidate gets the support of 100 MPs they will become the next Tory Party leader and subsequently also become the new Prime Minister.

What happens if both candidates achieve the backing of 100 MPs?

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If more than one candidate gets the backing of at least 100 MPs, there will be an ‘indicative’ vote which will take place for Conservative MPs between 3.30pm and 5.30pm today. However, this will not decide the next Prime Minister, but will simply show which candidate has the most support of Tory MPs.

While Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt appear to be the only two candidates, if a surprise third candidate emerged to also gain the support of 100 MPs, there would be an initial vote amongst MPs, with the candidate with the fewest votes being eliminated.

There would then be an indicative vote for the remaining two candidates which would take place between 6.30pm and 8.30pm today.

What happens after the indicative vote?

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Following the indicative vote, if no candidate withdraws, members of the Conservative Party across the country, including local councillors and campaigners, will then take part in an online vote to select the next leader and Prime Minister. The voting would take place this week with the winner set to be announced on Friday October 28.

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Whichever candidate is successful will need to then be officially asked by King Charles to form the next UK Government.