Expectations that disgraced Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be out of office within a few weeks were dashed as several hundred Tory MPs declared their intention to stand for the leadership contest. The list includes many MPs that the public has never heard of and some MPs that other MPs hadn't heard of.
But the smell of power appears to have pulled them out of the woodwork.
The Tory Party leadership rules are quite complex and stipulate that hopefuls must be whittled down one at a time. Which means that there will be practically as many votes as there are contestants.
Further, the 1922 Committee Handbook says that after every third vote, remaining candidates have to attend a gentleman's club in Mayfair, smoke one cigar, wear a pig's mask and get spanked on the bottom with a table tennis bat by a barmaid. The rule was introduced to preserve what is the norm for most male Tory MPs (and some female ones too).
However, some candidates have announced that they won't agree to do this, which means that the 1922 Committee needs to change the rules. However, the rules can only be changed "Over the Chairman's dead body" which presents some challenges.
It is therefore predicted that the contest could take up to a year.