Town MP scrapes through to next round of Tory leadership race

Nellie Chapman
June 14, 2019

The former foreign secretary was the clear favourite among the party's 313 MPs, storming ahead with 114 votes, 71 ahead of his nearest rival, Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Stewart, the International Development Secretary, warned that if Parliament were to be shut down - known as proroguing - in order to ensure a fulll Brexit, himself and other MPs would meet in an alternative parliament and would "bring down" Boris Johnson and his government.

Leadership hopefuls needed at least 17 votes in Thursday's secret ballot to go through to the second round, with anyone below that threshold automatically eliminated. But she will stay on as a lame duck Prime Minister until her successor is chosen.

The list of candidates reflects the divergence of views within the ruling party on Brexit.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid launched his campaign on Wednesday, pledging to get a revised version of May's deal through parliament by October 31.

McVey is pursuing a no-deal Brexit, arguing that the agreement struck by May keeps Britain too closely tied to the European Union, while Hancock is against no-deal.

Asked who she would urge her supporters to back if she is eliminated, Ms McVey said: "I'm not answering that yet".

Finance minister Philip Hammond also kept mum on his vote.

The contest so far has been dominated by revelations of past drug-taking by candidates and bickering over the best way to resolve the Brexit impasse.

But Thursday's voting revealed each candidate's current level of support.

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Three years since voting 52 percent-48 percent to leave the European Union, the United Kingdom is heading towards a possible crisis over Brexit as most of the candidates vying to succeed May are prepared to leave on 31 October without a deal.

McVey was pursuing a no-deal Brexit, arguing that the agreement May struck with Brussels keeps Britain too closely tied to the EU.

Any candidate who fails to gain 5% of the vote in the first round will be out.

Boris Johnson's performance in the Tory leadership race leads many of Friday's papers.

The last pair standing will go up before 160,000 voting Conservative Party members across the country.

The candidates face their first live television debate on Sunday in a 90-minute programme on Channel 4.

Former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, who received 27 votes, said: "I'm proud and honoured to have the support of so many brilliant colleagues today".

Conservative legislators will hold further elimination rounds of votes next week until two contenders remain.

The victor will become new party leader and automatically replace May as premier, most likely at the end of July.

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