Matt Hancock withdraws from Tory leadership race

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

But he said he would take part in a BBC debate on Tuesday evening, once the field of candidates has been reduced by a second round of voting.

Johnson said he did not want a no-deal Brexit but he ruled out a further extension beyond the current October 31 deadline.

All 313 Conservative MPs voted in the first ballot, including Mrs May, who refused to say whom she had backed. He won the backing of 114 of 313 Conservative lawmakers in a first round of voting on Thursday, nearly three times as many as his nearest rival.

"I'm hugely grateful for the warm and enthusiastic support I've received throughout this campaign, and am proud of the way we managed to set the agenda by promoting new ideas to make people's lives better", he said.

"I will never stop fighting for the values I believe in and I won't let you down".

They are: Environment minister Michael Gove, Health minister Matt Hancock, Foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, Interior minister Sajid Javid, Former foreign minister Boris Johnson, Former Brexit minister Dominic Raab, International development minister Rory Stewart.

Three contenders - Mark Harper, Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey - were knocked out of the contest on Thursday.

Mr Johnson, a former London mayor and foreign minister, has spent weeks wooing Conservative MPs, staying out of the spotlight with a low-key campaign at odds with his flamboyant publicity stunts of the past.

Boris Johnson received 114 votes in the secret ballot in the House of Commons.

Further ballots are scheduled to take place on 18, 19 and 20 June to whittle down the contenders until only two are left.

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After hustings around the country, the party's 160,000 grassroots members will pick their new leader in a postal ballot.

May resigned as Conservative Party leader having failed three times to get her European Union divorce deal through parliament.

Johnson's interview came after rivals accused him of hiding from scrutiny because of his history of gaffes.

When Jacob asked him who he would like to see leading the country, Nick explain he's looking for a leader beyond Brexit. "We've got to be out by 31 October", Johnson told BBC radio on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: PM hopeful Boris Johnson leaves his home in London, Britain, June 13, 2019.

"I am not aiming for a no-deal outcome".

Jacob argued that a leader like Rory Stewart may lead to Brexit not being delivered, and the Conservative's being electorally punished.

Most Tory leadership contenders are proposing changes to the backstop - the much-disputed arrangement aimed at guaranteeing no hard border in Ireland if no alternative plan is agreed between the United Kingdom and EU.

Meanwhile, DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he does not think Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is "acting in Ireland's interests" because a no-deal Brexit seems likely unless the UK's backstop concerns are addressed.

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