Express.co.uk is asking you to cast your ballot and declare who you want to be the next person to lead the Tories – and, presumably, take the reins at No 10. Leading Brexiteer Mr Johnson won more than 50 percent of Tory MPs’ support in the latest round of voting today, gaining 160 votes out of 313 and confirming to be the favourite to replace Theresa May as leader of the party. Jeremy Hunt gathered the votes of 77 MPs, two more than Environment Secretary Michael Gove – eliminated from the race.
The Foreign Secretary and Mr Johnson have now to face only one last round of voting, to be cast by the Conservative Party’s 160,000 members during the next weeks.
The grassroots and members are widely believed to be hardline Brexiteers and keen on voting for Mr Johnson following his pledge to deliver Brexit on October 31 with or without a deal in place.
In a survey carried out in April by ConservativeHome asking who would members choose between Mr Hunt and Mr Johnson, the former Foreign Secretary won by a landslide, beating the Cabinet member by almost two to one – 61 percent against 33 percent.
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But Mr Hunt, who voted Remain in the 2016 EU Referendum and considers himself the “underdog” of this race, looks far from being ready to surrender, as he warned politics can often take a surprising turn.
Following this afternoon’s vote, he wrote on Twitter: “I’m the underdog – but in politics surprises happen as they did today.
“I do not doubt the responsibility on my shoulders – to show my party how we deliver Brexit and not an election, but also a turbo-charged economy and a country that walks tall in the world.
“Congratulations to Michael Gove on his campaign – energy, intellectual rigour and the passion of someone whose own story speaks to Conservative values as much as his superb oratory.
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“Michael will always be one of the brightest stars in the Conservative team.”
The Foreign Secretary has vowed to deliver Brexit but said he was open to a short extension if the UK is close to striking a new deal with the EU in October.
Mr Hunt is also ready to accept a no deal exit from the European Union – but warned he considers it the last-possible solution to take on if all the other options fail.
Tonight’s vote in Committee Room 14 follows the elimination from the race also of Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who came in last at this morning’s round of voting.
In less than two weeks, eight Tory MP candidates have been eliminated.
The first round of voting saw Esther McVey, Andrea Leadsom and Mark Harper not reaching the 17-vote bank march.
On Tuesday, Dominic Raab was eliminated for obtaining only 30 votes out of the 33 required to pass the turn – just days after Health Secretary Matt Hancock pulled out of the contest.
Rory Stewart, who gained 18 ballots between the two round of voting, was eliminated from the race yesterday, after Tuesday’s BBC debate.