Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has crashed out of the Tory leadership contest after failing to secure the support of enough colleagues and bringing in just 30 votes.
Meanwhile Boris Johnson’s march towards Downing Street picked up speed as he cemented his place in the next round with 126 votes in tonight’s ballot of Conservative MPs.
Outsider Rory Stewart achieved the shock result of the night, picking up almost 20 votes since the previous round to progress. Candidates needed 33 votes to go through.
Raab was once heavily tipped to make it to the final two candidates due to his hard Brexit credentials. But Brexiter support has crystallised around Johnson, with many remain voters also supporting the former London mayor.
Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, environment secretary Michael Gove, and home secretary Sajid Javid also went through to the next round.
The full results from tonight were as follows:
- Boris Johnson: 126
- Jeremy Hunt: 46
- Michael Gove: 41
- Rory Stewart: 37
- Sajid Javid: 33
- Dominic Raab: 30 (eliminated)
Tory MPs will now whittle down the pack to two candidates over the next two days. Successive rounds of voting will be held and the candidate with the fewest votes eliminated.
The remaining candidates will face off against one another in a live TV debate on the BBC tonight. Johnson will attend after declining to take part in Channel 4’s contest on Sunday.
After the next rounds of voting, the final two will go through to a ballot of the Conservative party membership, who will choose the next leader and prime minister. The winner will be announced on 22 July.
In the first round, Johnson came top with 114 votes. Candidates needed 17 votes, including their own, to make it through.
Foreign secretary Hunt came second with 43 votes; Gove third with 37 votes; former Brexit secretary Raab received 27 votes; home secretary Javid took 23 votes; and Stewart ended with 19 votes.
Sterling fell to a fresh 2019 low overnight as the growing prospect of a Johnson premiership ramped up the chances of a no-deal Brexit. He has said he would lead Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal.
International development secretary Stewart scraped on to the ballot paper last week in a surprise result.
His campaign has since picked up momentum, thanks in large part to his quirky social media campaign and strong performance in Sunday’s Channel 4 leadership debate.
More to follow.