After the Brexit vote, Cameron announced he would be stepping down in October.

Why is he waiting so long? Surely a transition does not take 4 months.

  • A cynic might suggest that he is waiting until there is a new leader so that he isn't 'the Prime Minister who declared that the UK is leaving the EU'.
    – SGR
    Jun 28, 2016 at 8:27
  • 2
    @SGR A rational person, on the other hand, would simply read the well-informed answer below, written 17 hours ago. :) Jun 28, 2016 at 9:52

2 Answers 2


The reason for the delay is the Conservative election process needs to be completed before he actually steps down. He wanted the new leader to be in place before the Conservative Conference in October, but has recently stated that the new leader will probably be in place by 2nd September.

The mechanics of the Conservative Leadership election are not too complicated.

  • There is a proposed timetable which is first ratified by the Party board and then the 1922 Committee (backbench MP organisation)
  • Nominations are opened and any MPs wishing to stand require 2 nominations from fellow MPs
  • When nominations close if there is only one candidate then they are automatically elected
  • If two then it goes straight to a vote by the Party Membership
  • If more than two then the MPs vote for their favourites, and after each round the MP with the fewest votes drops out until there are only two remaining, and then it goes to the Party Membership

Between the time the Nominations close and the actual member election there needs to be a period of hustings and debate.

The above process was used for David Cameron's election in 2005.

So to answer the question, he doesn't want the Party without a leader, or the country without a Prime Minister, during a time of huge instability and it could take until October for that process to be complete.

  • 1
    The Tory Whip receives nominations from Tory MPs and the closing date is noon on a Thursday. Assuming multiple candidates, the ballot is held on the following Tuesday, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated and further ballots are held on subsequent Thursdays and Tuesdays until only two MPs remain, who are put forward to party members.
    – Daria
    Jun 27, 2016 at 17:05
  • This does not address the implicit question: why doesn't he just leave now and take a well deserved rest at his holiday home in France or Spain?
    – PatrickT
    Jun 28, 2016 at 8:48
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    Yes it does: "he doesn't want the Party without a leader, or the country without a Prime Minister, during a time of huge instability and it could take until October for that process to be complete"
    – BeaglesEnd
    Jun 28, 2016 at 8:51

David Cameron was in the "Remain" camp and therefore didn't feel it was just for him to lead the UK during the exit from the EU.

David Cameron has also said that there will be no second Referendum whilst he is Prime Minister and him stepping down may open the way for a second Referendum to happen under a new PM as he is opening the way for another Prime Minister to come. He is also, in a way, force a General Election where the primary onus will be the respective political parties stance on the result of the Referendum.

The reason I think he is leaving several months later is so that he can consolidate the Conservative Party internally - if his immediate resignation was effective immediately, it would leave the United Kingdom without a leader - in a period of history where there is create political turmoil. David Cameron probably thinks that giving the UK a few months grace until he eventually steps down will help stabilise not only the UK's market but also his own political party.


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