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Conservative MPs vote for Johnson, Hunt and Gove in leadership contest

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LONDON — Conservative MPs have decided on the final five candidates to go through to the next round in the contest to replace Theresa May as party leader and prime minister.

Boris Johnson came first with 126 votes with Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid and Rory Stewart also receiving enough votes to make it through to the next round.

However, the former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab dropped out after failing to meet the threshold of support.

The International Development Secretary Rory Stewart continues to outperform expectations, doubling his support from the first round after opinion polls suggest he won the first televised leadership debate.

The five candidates will appear together on a televised BBC debate on Tuesday evening at 20.00 (BST).

It will be the first time that Johnson, who is the strong favourite to win the contest, has agreed to debate his rival candidates.

The former foreign secretary was empty-chaired at the first leadership debate conducted by Channel Four on Sunday.

The results come as the frontrunner comes under growing pressure to clarify his Brexit policy, with MPs from across the party reporting mixed messages on whether he is prepared to take Britain out of the EU without a deal.

Conservative leadership second round results

  • Boris Johnson: 126
  • Jeremy Hunt: 46
  • Michael Gove: 41
  • Rory Stewart: 37
  • Sajid Javid: 33
  • Dominic Raab: 30 (excluded)

Johnson has insisted publicly that he will ensure Brexit takes place at the end of the six month extension period on October 31, whether or not a deal has been agreed by parliament.

However, some of those who have met privately with Johnson are convinced that he would not take Britain through a no-deal scenario.

Business leaders who have met with Johnson also report mixed messages on whether he would take Britain out of the EU without a deal, according to the BBC.

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