The Conservative Party leadership has narrowed further still to just four candidates: Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Sajid Javid. Today we will know the final two contenders who’ll be voted on by the Conservative Party membership, provided neither one withdraws prematurely.
On Tuesday, hard Brexiteer Dominic Raab was knocked out, the only candidate not to reach the 33 Conservative Party MP vote threshold to stay in. International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, who had become of a social media phenomenon via his video walks around the country meeting members of the public, gained enough momentum to get into Wednesday’s round ahead of Home Secretary Sajid Javid. However, much of his momentum was based on the prospect of facing off against frontrunner Boris Johnson in the BBC‘s Conservative Party leadership debate on Tuesday night.
Perhaps not having matched supporter expectations, or tactically voted through in the hope of exposing flaws in Boris Johnson’s campaign, Rory Stewart was knocked out on Wednesday with 10 votes fewer than he received the previous day.
Although it’s hypothetically possible that Boris Johnson’s support evaporates enough for him to miss out on the membership run-off, his near 100 vote lead over his nearest rival makes it a more or less foregone conclusion he will make it to the final two. What’s decidedly more in doubt is who he’ll face in the final round.
As can be seen in the graphic below, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has retained second place in standings in the latest vote on Wednesday, which he has held since the beginning. However, Environment Secretary Michael Gove is only a few votes behind, while Sajid Javid isn’t out of contention yet.
On Thursday Conservative MPs will vote in two rounds to narrow the field down to the final two with each round seeing the candidate with the fewest number of votes eliminated. The first round’s results are expected at lunchtime and the second round expected to be announced at 6PM.