Thursday, 13 June 2019

Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt seem to be heading the field in the Tory leadership race.

Boris Johnson took the first step towards Downing Street today as he stormed home in the opening round of the Tory leadership battle.

The former former secretary topped the secret ballot with backing from 114 MPs - ahead of Jeremy Hunt in second with 43.

The higher-than-expected score for Mr Johnson - which drew gasps in the Committee Room 14 when it was announced - means he is almost guaranteed to make the final run-off among Tory members.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove was third on 37, then Dominic Raab on 26, Sajid Javid on 23 and Matt Hancock on 20.
Aid Secretary Rory Stewart just squeezed over the threshold of 17 votes needed from the total of 313 to continue to the next round.

But three hopefuls have been axed from the next stage of the contest after failing to get over the hurdle.

Andrea Leadsom, Mark Harper and Esther McVey were kicked out with 11, 10 and nine votes respectively. The outcome means that the competition is now all-male.

The battle for the keys to No10 will now intensify as the contenders vie for support from those eliminated.

Earlier. Mrs Leadsom, Mr Stewart and Ms McVey were hanging around the committee room where the ballot is taking place trying to drum up backers. 

The trio looked in good spirits as they posed for selfies inside Parliament. 

Mr Johnson received another boost earlier today, as a poll found he is the overwhelming choice of Tory activists.

The survey by the grass-roots ConservativeHome website put him on 54 per cent - with Mr Stewart a surprising but distant second on 12 per cent. 

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