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Boris Johnson wins first round of United Kingdom leadership vote

Boris Johnson wins first round of United Kingdom leadership vote

One Westminster insider said: "I doubt whether we will get to the last scheduled ballot on Thursday".

Three were knocked out: former leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom, Mark Harper and Esther McVey.

Existing candidates will be desperately trying to win their endorsement - Mr Raab will particularly be hoping to get support from those who supported Ms McVey and Ms Leadsom although their supporters might have seen the way the wind is blowing and be keen to give their support to Mr Johnson in the hope of ending up on the winning side at the end of the contest.

Johnson secured 114 votes, way ahead of Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on 43 and Environment Secretary Michael Gove with 37.

If there were only three candidates left by next Tuesday's vote, one would be eliminated and the contest could proceed to the next stage of voting by the party membership the same day, instead of next Thursday as now scheduled.

Johnson, a former London mayor and foreign minister, has spent weeks wooing Conservative lawmakers, staying out of the spotlight with a low-key campaign at odds with his flamboyant publicity stunts of the past.

She stepped down as the centre-right party's leader on Friday, having failed to deliver her plan for taking Britain out of the European Union after almost three years in the post.

The former foreign secretary already appears nearly certain to make it to the final stage of the contest after receiving 114 votes from Tory MPs in the opening round of the leadership battle.

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

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The Conservative Party will hold its next round Tuesday, when candidates with less than 33 votes will be eliminated.

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

Hancock and Stewart are against leaving on no-deal terms in any eventuality.

Boris Johnson has positioned himself as the only politician certain to pass Brexit by the October 31 deadline.

Sajid Javid, who as home secretary has enforced immigration rules that would not have let his father enter the country, got the support of 23 MPs.

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

But Mr Johnson has also threatened to withhold the UK's £39billion "divorce" payment for leaving the European Union until the European Union agrees better terms for the deal.

The final pair will then be put to a vote of members of the wider Conservative Party from 22 June, with the victor expected to be announced about four weeks later.

May will then step down as prime minister and the new leader of the largest party in parliament will be appointed as PM by Queen Elizabeth II.