Earlier today, Rory Stewart said that he was in talks with Michael Gove’s campaign team, to see if the Environment Secretary would drop out and combine forces with him to take on Boris Johnson. In the end though, it was Stewart who was forced to walk the plank – with even fewer votes than he picked up yesterday.
Boris Johnson continued his dominance of the race, winning 143 votes, 17 more than the last round – so benefiting from the elimination of Dominic Raab. Trailing behind him were Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove, who received 54 and 51 respectively, and then Sajid Javid on 38 votes. Stewart only managed to reach 27 votes this time, losing ten backers since yesterday.
Ahead of tonight’s vote, it seemed likely that it would be either be Sajid Javid or Rory Stewart who would be knocked out at this stage – the pair came last and second last in the previous round. But after a lacklustre few days and a bizarre performance in the BBC televised leadership debate last night (which saw Stewart begin to undress by taking off his tie) it was the International Development Secretary’s momentum that stalled today.
Tomorrow, two more votes will take place in the House of Commons – where it seems likely that either Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt or Sajid Javid will be knocked out, and the remaining candidate will go on to face Boris Johnson in the second stage of the contest. If Boris manages not to self-destruct in the next 24 hours then he’ll be fine.
Full results here:
Boris Johnson, 143
Jeremy Hunt, 54
Michael Gove, 51
Sajid Javid, 38
Rory Stewart, 27 – knocked out