Dominic Raab eliminated from Tory leadership race as Boris Johnson cements huge lead

Posted On: 
18th June 2019

Dominic Raab has been eliminated from the Tory leadership race as Boris Johnson extended his lead over his rivals.

Credit: 
PA

The former Brexit Secretary came last in the latest ballot of Conservative MPs with 30 votes, but Mr Johnson's seemingly unstoppable march to Number 10 continued.

Mr Johnson received 126 votes - up from 114 in the last round, while second placed Jeremy Hunt trailed him with 46 votes, three more than he received in the first round.

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Environment Secretary Michael Gove won the support of 41 MPs, an increase of four from the first ballot.

Rory Stewart came fourth on 37 votes - nearly double what he achieved in the first ballot - with Sajid Javid fifth on 33 - just hitting the threshold of support needed to stay in the race.

The result means that former Mr Raab - who won just 30 MP backers - will not take part in this evening's BBC leadership hustings, where Mr Johnson will finally make an appearance having snubbed the Channel 4 version on Sunday night.

The frontrunner also come under fire for dodging a hustings event organised by lobby journalists on Monday, and unlike his rivals has yet to appear on Radio 4's flagship Today programme.

A third ballot of Tory MPs will take place on Wednesday, with two more scheduled for Thursday if required to reduce the number of candidates to two, after which Conservative members will make the final call on who should lead the party.

A spokesman for Mr Hunt said: "This is a solid result. It shows a steady step forward, which is exactly what we were expecting. It confirms that Jeremy is the best placed candidate to take on Boris. He’s the only candidate who can unite the country and the party by delivering Brexit."

A spokesman for Mr Javid dismissed suggestions that he could quit the race.

He said: "We fight on. We're honoured to get the support of 33 colleagues and we look forward to the debate tonight. Sajid still firmly believes he is the man who can unite the party, so it's all to play for."

A spokeswoman for Mr Stewart said: "This is a fantastic result for Rory - almost doubling his vote - with the biggest increase of all the candidates. This shows his momentum is continuing to build. He can now go all the way to the final two, giving the clear choice that members deserve.

"Rory is running a positive campaign that is reaching across the country - and he invites MPs to join his team, Leave or Remain, frontbencher or backbencher. 

"The moment is here. Together we can get Brexit done, put honesty and trust at the heart of all we do, and make this country fairer, greener and more united."

Mr Johnson's campaign has been boosted in recent days after unsuccessful leadership candidates Esther McVey, Andrea Leadsom and Health Secretary Matt Hancock all publicly declared their support for him.

But the leading Eurosceptic MP is likely to come under intense scrutiny from fellow leadership candidates over his Brexit plans.

Speaking on Sunday, Mr Stewart warned the leading Tory's campaign could "come off the rails" once his commitment to a deal or no deal Brexit on 31 October is interrogated.

"How is Boris going to deliver Brexit? He keeps saying 'I am going to deliver it'. I don't even know what he believes. He won't talk to me. He won't talk to you. He won't talk to the public," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr.

"We want to know what he believes. The real problem with politics is a problem of trust."