Boris Johnson has a commanding lead in the Tory leadership election after the first round of voting with backing from 114 Mps.
Johnson’s 114 votes puts him past the 105 votes needed to reach the final round.
He tweeted: “Thank you to my friends and colleagues in the Conservative & Unionist Party for your support. I am delighted to win the first ballot, but we have a long way to go.”
Seven candidates passed the barrier of 16 votes to reach the second round of voting:
- Jeremy Hunt – 43 votes
- Michael Gove – 37 votes
- Dominic Raab – 27 votes
- Sajid Javid – 23 votes
- Matt Hancock – 20 votes
- Rory Stewart – 19 votes
Hunt tweeted: “Delighted to come second today. We face a crucial choice: who can negotiate some better choices than the bad ones we face. The stakes have rarely been higher for our country. This serious moment calls for a serious leader.”
Gove tweeted: “It’s all to play for. Very much looking forward to the Channel 4 and BBC debates.”
In a dig at frontrunner Johnson, who has not confirmed if he will take part in Sunday’s Channel 4 debate, Gove signed off, “hope to see all other candidates there!”
Javid supporter Robert Halfon MP said the home secretary has momentum in the leadership race.
“It’s a very strong fifth place, we’ve exceeded expectations,” he said.
Stewart, who has risen in prominence throughout the leadership race, burnished his credentials as the anti-Johnson candidate with a threat to “bring down” the former foreign secretary.
“Every other MP will sit across the road in Methodist Central Hall and we will hold our own session of parliament and we will bring him down,” Stewart told Sky news.
Three candidates were eliminated:
- Andrea Leadsom – 11 votes
- Mark Harper – 10 votes
- Esther Mcvey – 9 votes
Leadsom tweeted: “What a ride! Loved being back on the leadership campaign trail. Great effort by colleagues Mark Harper and Esther Mcvey and best of luck to the remaining candidates.”
In a statement Mcvey said she was “extremely grateful to those people who voted for me in this election” and said she was “pleased to have had a platform to make the case for blue collar Conservatism”.
She said she would “speak to the remaining candidates to see who is best placed to deliver on that programme”.
The second round of voting is on 18 June when candidates will need 33 votes to stay in the contest, with further ballots planned for 19 and 20 June until there are two candidates remaining.
The two candidates will then be voted on by the Tory membership.