Leadsom, McVey and Harper eliminated in first ballot of Tory leadership contest

The initial contenders in the Conservative leadership race (top row, left to right) former Foreign Secretary Boris...

The initial contenders in the Conservative leadership race (top row, left to right) former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and former Conservative chief whip Mark Harper, (bottom row, left to right) former Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, former House of Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, and Home Secretary Sajid Javid. (Photograph: PA Wire). - Credit: PA

The results of the first Tory leadership ballot have been revealed - with three MPs eliminated.

Candidates needed at least 17 votes to go through to the second round, with anyone below the threshold automatically eliminated.

Those MPs with the fewest votes were Mark Harper, Esther McVey and Andrea Leadsom.

Boris Johnson overwhelmingly topped the first ballot in the Tory leadership contest with 114 votes, with Jeremy Hunt in second place with 43.

Michael Gove achieved 37 votes, Sajid Javid was on 27, and Matt Hancock on 20. Rory Stewart won 19 votes.

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Harper gained 10 votes while Leadsom and McVey achieved nine votes.

The remaining candidates have a few days to consolidate their support before the second ballot takes place on Tuesday June 18.

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On this occasion, candidates will need at least 33 votes to go through, meaning the field could be whittled down by two or three names.

Ballots continue until just two candidates remain in the contest.

A third ballot will take place on June 19, with provision for a fourth and fifth ballot on June 20 if necessary.

The two candidates left at the end of the ballots will then spend a month campaigning across the country.

At the same time, members of the Conservative Party will receive ballot papers allowing them to choose which of the two names they would prefer as leader.

Caroline Lucas MP, leading supporter of the People's Vote campaign, said it was wrong that just 0.25% of the population are deciding the public's future.

She said: "Today, a tiny group of people - just 313 Conservative MPs - will start the process of deciding who gets to lead our country of 65 million people. After they're finished whittling it down to two candidates, it will then be handed to the Conservative membership to make the final decision - perhaps 160,000 people, representing 0.25% of the population, will be deciding all of our futures.

"With the Conservative candidates engaged in an increasingly dangerous Brexit arms-race and the front-runner Boris Johnson open to the idea of forcing through a destructive No Deal, the voice of the British public must be heard. That's why the People's Vote campaign is beginning an all-out nationwide mobilisation through the summer and the autumn that will culminate in one of the biggest demonstrations Britain has ever seen on October 12 before the crunch decision on Brexit.

"It is genuinely shocking that a new prime minister would even consider imposing a destructive Brexit on the people of Britain. It is a democratic outrage that they want to do this without the people getting the chance to have the final say. Our demand is simple: Let us be heard."

The winner will be announced in the week beginning Monday July 22.

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