The process to replace outgoing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is expected to begin on January 7.
The party's general secretary, Jennie Formby, has recommended to the party's ruling National Executive Committee that the process begin at the start of the New Year, so a new leader can be in place by the end of March.
A number of senior figures in the current leadership have already given their backing to shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the next leader should be a woman and said it was "most probably time for a non-metropolitan" candidate as he said "we need a northern voice".
He tipped Ms Long-Bailey as having the ability to be "a brilliant leader". She also received the support of shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon.
And shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, is also believed to be eyeing a bid to succeed Mr Corbyn.
However, Ms Thornberry has been accused of calling Leave voters "stupid" by ex-Labour MP Caroline Flint, who lost her seat at the election in the former stronghold of Don Valley.
She claimed Ms Thornberry had told a colleague: "I'm glad my constituents aren't as stupid as yours."
Ms Thornberry denied the "total and utter lie" on Sunday, and is understood to be consulting lawyers.
Meanwhile, Mr McDonnell attempted to take responsibility for Labour's worst result since 1935 at the election, saying "I own this disaster".
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