Conservative Party leadership contest MPs hold first round of votes

13-06-2019 06:06

The Conservative MPs hold the first ballot of the contest following a week of leadership pitches.

Frontrunner Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Javid Sajid were the final two of the 10 candidates to launch their campaigns, as the battle for Number 10 intensifies.

Leadership hopefuls need at least 17 votes in the secret ballot to go through the second round, with anyone below the threshold automatically eliminated.

But even if all the candidates meet the target, the one with the lowest number of votes.

Mr Johnson has said that they will "reap the whirlwind" if they try to thwart Brexit – and said it was essential that Britain was out of the EU by the end of October.

But Mr Javid dismissed the foreign secretary as "yesterday's news", saying the party needed to show it had changed.

Leading Commons leader Andrea Leadsom insisted she was "very optimistic" about the ballot, and said she thought that she would have the support of.

She told ITV's Peston: "I'm very optimistic about tomorrow."

"But tomorrow's a big day, and we'll see some real facts tomorrow – then it's all just speculation."

Former chief whip Mark Harper, ex-work and pensions secretary Esther McVey and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart may also be struggling to get over the line on Thursday.

But Mr Harper said: "I'm confident about getting through my time, I've had from my colleagues, from my campaign launch yesterday and the various hustings that we've had."

Meanwhile, Labor said it would continue to be a no-deal Brexit after the latest cross-party attempt by MPs to take control.

The cross-party motion, which would have enabled MPs to take control of the business of the House on June 25, was defeated by 309 to 298 – a majority of 11.

Ten Tories – including Ken Clarke, Sir Oliver Letwin, Justine Greening and Dominic Grieve – supported the motion, but eight MPs voted against.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer said it would have acted as a "safety valve".

Thursday's ballot is due to take place between 10am and 12pm, with the result being announced at 1pm.