Under the contest’s current rules, MPs will pick a final two by the end of June.
The Tory membership then elects the winner by July 22.
One of those behind the early coronation plan says: “If we wait, you’ll have the PM hitting up Europe in the first week of August when they are on the beach.”
They add that the former Foreign Secretary is already way ahead in polls of the Tory membership. But on Friday night rival campaigns warned against any “stitch-up”.
And they said it was vital Boris Johnson or whoever made the final two were tested and put under “real scrutiny”.
Theresa May was crowned without going to the membership in 2016 after Andrea Leadsom pulled out.
One camp said: “It’s hugely important members get a chance to decide who our next leader is so that the next Prime Minister has a mandate.”
The row came as Brexiteer leadership contender Dominic Raab accused Boris Johnson of “hiding away” – and called on all his rivals to sign up to leadership TV debates. A spokesman for Mr Johnson confirmed he had yet to agree to take part in a debate scheduled by Channel 4 next Sunday – June 16.
Fave ‘Ducking Tv Debate’
And Mr Raab told The Sun: “This is a cross roads moment in our history.
“All of us standing to be Prime Minister should have our plans scrutinised.
“This is not a time for hiding away, or ducking the tough questions.
“It’s a time to debate our plans.
“That is why all major contenders to be our next Prime Minister should agree to televised leadership debates.”
Polling on Friday suggested Boris Johnson was the most likely potential leader to win back Tory supporters – according to a survey of 48 marginal seats.
The Sun Says
THE Tory leadership contest looks like a greater insult to democracy every day.
It’s bad enough our new Prime Minister being chosen solely by Tory MPs and members. Worse still that a few candidates seem terrified of public scrutiny.
There is simply no excuse for Boris Johnson to duck a TV debate. If he’s the front-runner, let’s see him properly challenged and forced to answer tough questions from his rivals.
The Tories are not secretly selecting the new Grand Master of a Masonic Lodge. These men and women are auditioning to run the country.
At this pivotal point in our history the public have a right to see what they’re getting — beyond a few bland tweets, manicured newspaper columns or platitudes whispered behind closed doors.
Who knows? It might even convince floating voters that this battered party DOES have talent despite its problems.
Theresa May was gifted power without scrutiny, then wilted in the spotlight.
The Tories cannot repeat that mistake.
But rival campaigns countered with YouGov polling that showed Boris Johnson ranked below both Mr Raab and Sajid Javid as a potential Prime Minister.
Some 53 per cent of voters believe Mr Johnson would be a “bad” PM – against just 26 per cent who believed he would do a good job.
In a stinging attack, Junior Minister and Raab supporter Nadhim Zahawi stormed: “Polls show that the public is clear what they don’t want: a controversial face from the past.”