Theresa May’s premiership is drawing to a close, with the timetable for the Conservative Party contest to replace her expected to be set out in early June.

The Prime Minister will meet Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Tory 1922 Committee which will oversee the contest,  after she has one last push to get her Brexit deal through the Commons in the week beginning June 3.

Sir Graham Brady will meet Theresa May to agree the timetable for the contest to replace her (Victoria Jones/PA)

– When will Theresa May leave office?

That will depend on what happens when the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) – which ratifies the Brexit deal thrashed out with Brussels – has its Commons showdown.

If it clears its first hurdle, Mrs May would seek to stay in post in order to see the legislation through Parliament, with a goal of getting it done by the summer recess, creating a potential Brexit date of August 1. She could then leave office having secured the UK’s departure from the EU.

If the WAB is defeated – as her three previous attempts to get the Brexit deal approved have been – then it appears inevitable her departure would be accelerated.

How a Conservative leadership election works
(PA Graphics)

– How would a leadership contest work?

Candidates must be nominated by two Conservative MPs. If only one candidate comes forward, he or she becomes leader, but a coronation appears unlikely given the crowded field of leadership hopefuls already jostling for position.

The list of candidates is whittled down to a shortlist of two in a series of votes by Conservative MPs.

The final pair then go to a postal ballot of all party members, with the position of leader – and prime minister – going to the victor.

– How long would that take?

Sir Graham would be responsible for overseeing the contest and setting a timetable for the campaign, which would be expected to last around 12 weeks – although given the pressing need to get on with the Brexit process, that could be shortened.

A new leader is likely to be in place for the Conservative Party conference in Manchester starting on September 29.