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Boris Johnson to take on Jeremy Hunt in battle to become PM

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LONDON — Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will go head-to-head with Boris Johnson in the battle to become prime minister after Michael Gove was knocked out of the contest in the final round of voting.

The result came amid claims that Johnson’s campaign had lent supporters to Hunt in order to avoid a run-off with Gove.

The pair will now participate in a month-long series of hustings around the country with audiences comprised of the 160,000-strong Conservative party membership, who will vote for their preferred candidate by postal ballot.

The result is expected on July 22, and Johnson is the clear favourite to replace Theresa May in Downing Street, with the most support from colleagues and polling indicating that he is the most popular candidate among Conservative members.

How Conservative MPs voted:

  • Boris Johnson: 160
  • Jeremy Hunt: 77
  • Michael Gove: 75

Sajid Javid, the home secretary, was knocked out in the fourth round of voting on Thursday morning.

Johnson, the MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip who resigned as foreign secretary in 2018, faces a stiff challenge from Hunt, who is a polished media performer.

Johnson has been accused of avoiding media scrutiny in the first weeks of the campaign when he focused on winning support from parliamentary colleagues.

But he will now be under intense pressure to reveal more details of his plan to take Britain out of the EU on October 31 with or without a deal, which some critics say is unlikely.

More follows.

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