Boris Johnson surges ahead in Conservative leadership election

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

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"It is genuinely shocking that a new prime minister would even consider imposing a destructive Brexit on the people of Britain".

He said he would be prepared to take a ministerial post if there was a No Deal Brexit "crisis" - having yesterday launched a blistering on suggestions Mr Johnson might shut down Parliament to get the United Kingdom out of the European Union by October.

Mr Stewart told GMB: "Now I'm second amongst Conservative Association members behind Boris".

He only managed 19 votes in the first round, from a possible 313.

In a tweet he said: "This is incredible - we're getting some real momentum here". Let's push this through to the end.

In public, Mr Johnson has said he is "instinctively averse to such arcane procedures" while pledging to leave the European Union on 31 October come what may.

Mr Johnson has been dogged by accusations from fellow candidates that he has been "hiding in a bunker" during the Conservative leadership campaign.

Esther McVey, Mark Harper and Andrea Leadsom all failed to get 17 votes - the required number to remain in the contest.

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'Answer us. I've been asking Boris for a week.

The former foreign secretary topped the secret ballot with backing from 114 MPs - ahead of Jeremy Hunt in second with 43.

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.

Candidate Andrea Leadsom shared a selfie with fellow leadership hopefuls and "good friends" Rory Stewart and Esther McVey outside the committee room where MPs are voting.

Boris Johnson went in and out without saying anything to reporters.

Mr Stewart, who surprised Westminster by getting enough votes to get through to the second round of the Tory leadership ballot, told the BBC: 'If we ended up in a crisis, and I fear no-deal Brexit would be a crisis, and if he were to wish me to come back, which I think is a little doubtful given the slight acrimony of the last few weeks, then, of course, I'd be honoured to serve'.

At least one candidate will leave the race today.

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

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