'All to play for' in Tory leadership race as more than half of members still to vote

Posted On: 
12th July 2019

More than half of Tory members still have to vote in the contest to succeed Theresa May as party leader, it has emerged.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt at the ITV debate.
Credit: 
PA Images

In an apparent boost for Jeremy Hunt, thousands of grassroots activists are holding off on passing their verdict as the race enters its final two weeks.

It had been expected that the vast majority of Conservative members would have voted for their preferred candidate almost immediately after receiving their ballot papers a week ago.

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That was thought to give a huge advantage to Boris Johnson, who opinion polls suggest has a commanding lead over his rival.

But according to the BBC, fewer than half of the ballot papers have been returned to Tory HQ as members apparently hold off on making their final decision.

Responding to the news, Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt tweeted: "All to play for ... ".

Both leadership contenders will face one of the toughest challenges of the campaign on Friday evening when they are interviewed by Andrew Neil.

The pair will face the BBC's top political interviewer for half an hour each.

Meanwhile, Mr Hunt pledged to reverse cuts to the size of the Royal Navy if he becomes Prime Minister.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said tensions with Iran in the Gulf showed that the UK needed more warships.

Mr Johnson told The Sun he would appoint a Veterans Minister to the Cabinet, whose job it would be to look out for the interests of those who have served in the Armed Forces.