Next British PM to be announced on July 23

The winner of the contest to replace Theresa May as leader of Britain's ruling Conservatives and prime minister will be announced on July 23, the ruling party said on Tuesday.

Former foreign minister Boris Johnson is the favourite in the race, battling Britain's current top diplomat, Jeremy Hunt.

The two candidates were chosen from a field of 10 by the Conservative party's 313 MPs, and are now seeking to woo an estimated 160,000 party members who will make the final choice.

Postal ballots will be sent out between July 6 and 8, and the deadline for returning them has been set at 5:00 pm (local time) on July 22.

"The announcement of the next leader of the Conservative party will be made on Tuesday, July 23. This process has been agreed with both candidates," the statement said.

Once a successor is confirmed, May would be expected to visit Queen Elizabeth II to formally tender her resignation as premier.

Her replacement would then make his own visit to Buckingham Palace to be confirmed in office.

The Conservatives do not have a majority in parliament's lower House of Commons, but govern through an alliance with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

May announced her resignation last month after failing to get her Brexit deal through parliament, faced with opposition from both Conservative MPs and the DUP.

(with news agency inputs)