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Boris Johnson surges in UK leadership race

June 13, 2019

Ten Conservatives entered the leadership ring; just seven emerged. But one candidate — Boris Johnson — has taken an overwhelming lead.

Boris Johnson
Image: Reuters/H. Nicholls

Just seven lawmakers are left in the British leadership race after the first round of voting in the Conservative Party on Thursday.

Ten candidates put their name in the hat, hoping to win the support of at least 17 fellow Conservatives and proceed to the next round of voting to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, who quit as party leader last week.

There were a total of 313 votes cast, none of which were spoiled or rejected. 

Who's in?

  • Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, with 114 votes.
  • Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, with 43 votes
  • Environment Secretary Michael Gove, with 37 votes.
  • Home Secretary Sajid Javid, with 23 votes
  • Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, with 27 votes
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock, with 20 votes
  • Former Development Secretary Rory Stewart, with 19 votes.

Who's out?

  • Former work and pensions minister Esther McVey, with 9 votes
  • Former leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, with 11 votes.
  • Former chief whip Mark Harper, with 10 votes.

Voting will continue over the following days to whittle the race down to two candidates.

The next ballot is scheduled for Monday, when candidates must win the support of 33 Conservative lawmakers.

Eventually, the party's 160,000 members will decide between the final two, which is likely to happen in the week starting July 22. The winner will likely take over the premiership.

"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," Johnson said on Twitter.

Rory Stewart, whose more liberal politics contrast greatly with Johnson's conservative bend, scraped through the vote having been expected to fail.

"This is now neck-and-neck going into the next round," Stewart told reporters. "I feel really inspired and encouraged."

aw/ng (dpa, Reuters, AP, AFP)

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