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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 8 December, 2019

And then there were three: Javid eliminated from Tory race as Johnson remains Prime Minister-in-waiting

Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt are also still in the running.

IN THE FIRST of two votes today, Conservative MPs have eliminated Sajid Javid from the running to be party leader. 

Javid received 34 votes from the 313 MPs in the fourth round, the fewest of the candidates remaining and was therefore eliminated.

Boris Johnson has grown his support among MPs taking 157 votes up, up from the 143 he won yesterday. 

Environment Secretary Michael Gove received 61 votes while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt received 59 votes. 

This means that Gove has leapfrogged Hunt into second place, gaining 10 votes from the previous round compared to Hunt’s five

There were two spoiled votes in the ballot, prompting expressions of surprise from those inside the Conservative’s 1922 Committee. 

Voting patterns from round-to-round in the private ballots have has led to suggestions that Johnson supporters have been tactically lending their votes to other candidates as a way of ensuring certain contenders are knocked out.

Former interior minister Amber Rudd today called on Johnson to denounce these actions if they are taking place. 

This evening, Tory MPs will vote again to eliminate another candidate, leaving just two men standing in the race to be the leader of the government party.

When the field has been whittled down to two, the format of the contest will see the vote then opened up to the wider party, made up of about 120,000 members.

When Theresa May won the party’s leadership in 2016 this did not happen as her rival Andrea Leadsom pulled out of the contest before the membership voted. 

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Rónán Duffy

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