The race to become the next Conservative Party leader has begun, following Theresa May’s announcement that she will step down next month.

The contest will not only result in a new party leader, but also in the next prime minister of the UK.

Party bosses expect a new leader to be chosen by the end of July.

Mrs May confirmed on Friday that she will resign as party leader on 7 June, but will continue as PM while the leadership contest takes place.

She agreed with chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, that the process to choose a new leader should begin the week after she stands down.

Four candidates have confirmed their intention to stand:

  • Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt
  • International Development Secretary Rory Stewart
  • Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
  • Former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey

However, more than a dozen more are believed to be seriously considering running – including Sir Graham, who has resigned as chair of the 1922 Committee.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has ruled herself out,¬†telling the Daily Telegraph: “I don’t think it is my time at the moment.”