Boris Johnson wins first Tory leadership ballot as Esther McVey comes last

Posted On: 
13th June 2019

Boris Johnson has surged to the top of the first Conservative leadership ballot - as rivals Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey and Mark Harper were all knocked out of the race.

The remaining candidates will now go through to a second ballot of MPs on 18 June.
Credit: 
PA

Mr Johnson scooped up the support of 114 Tory MPs, with his nearest rival Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt seeing 43 MPs row in behind his campaign.

Those hoping to take on the top job needed to secure at least 17 votes from fellow MPs in Thursday's ballot to make it through to the next round.

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Cabinet ministers Michael Gove and Matt Hancock secured the backing of 37 and 20 MPs respectively, while Home Secretary Sajid Javid won 23 supporters.

Meanwhile ex-Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab pulled in support from 27 parliamentarians and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart nabbed 19 votes, making it through to the next round.

But Tory rules mean Andrea Leadsom and Mark Harper, who failed to hit the required number of supporters, will have to step aside, while Esther McVey has been automatically knocked out as the lowest-ranking candidate.

Ms McVey, the former Work and Pensions Secretary, grabbed the backing of just 9 MPs, while Mr Harper netted 10 votes and Ms Leadsom secured 11 backers.

In a statement released shortly after the results were announced, Ms McVey paid tribute to her "fantastic" campaign team.

And she said: "I am pleased to have had a platform to make the case for Blue Collar Conservatism, a clean break from the EU and the need to invest money into schools, policing and a proper pay rise for our public sector workers.

"I will speak to the remaining candidates to see who is best placed to deliver on that programme."

The defeated candidate added: "I wish the remaining candidates well and I hope that all Conservative MPs will unite behind whoever wins this contest which is essential to prevent the disaster of a Marxist government.

"Whoever becomes the new leader will certainly receive my support."

The results were announced in Parliament's oak-panneled Committee Room 14 at 1pm after Tory MPs, including Theresa May, spent the morning casting their votes in secret.

Unveiling the results, Cheryl Gillan of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs said: "The total number of votes cast in today's ballot were 313, and you'll be pleased to know that there were no spoilt or rejected ballot papers."

The remaining seven will now go through to a second ballot of MPs on 18 June, in which candidates will need at least 33 votes to stay in the race.

A third ballot is then on the cards for the following day, with a fourth and fifth scheduled for 20 June if needed.

Barring a drop-out by one of the final two, the two candidates left at the end of the process will then face a vote of the wider Conservative membership, with the new leader in place for the week of 22 July.