Published: Thu, June 20, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Dominic Raab out of Tory leadership race as five proceed

Dominic Raab out of Tory leadership race as five proceed

Brexit figurehead Boris Johnson will look to cement his stranglehold of the United Kingdom leadership race Wednesday after emerging unscathed from a TV debate against his four remaining rivals.

Boris Johnson has topped the ballot in a third round of voting for the Tory leadership, with worldwide development secretary Rory Stewart eliminated from the race after receiving just 27 votes from fellow MPs.

Boris Johnson won a third successive ballot, with 143 votes.

Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid and Rory Stewart also got enough votes to make it into the next round.

Remaining candidates will face further ballots later this week in another knockout contest where the bottom-ranked MPs will be knocked out until only two are left.

Mr Johnson is nearly certain to make the run-off of 160,000 or so Conservative members who will elect the next Tory leader in a postal ballot, starting next week.

The victor who will replace May is due to be announced in late July.

Johnson - a leading figure in the 2016 campaign to leave the European Union - says the United Kingdom must leave the bloc on the scheduled date of October 31, with or without a divorce deal to smooth the way.

The U.K.'s withdrawal, originally set for March 29, has been pushed back twice amid political deadlock in London.

Mr Stewart has not yet said who he will endorse.

The EU says it won't reopen the Brexit agreement it struck with May's government, which has been rejected three times by Britain's Parliament.

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He said a negotiator has three qualities: "The first is it has to be someone the other side trust, because you don't do a deal with somebody you don't trust".

While Johnson is odds-on favorite to become Britain's next leader, some in the party still have doubts about him.

Hunt is considered an experienced and competent minister, but unexciting.

He wanted to try again to get the divorce deal through parliament, but the other candidates all warn that without a change, Britain must be ready to leave with no deal at all.

Both Hunt and Gove repeated that a further delay might be required if a Brexit deal was within reach.

But you can never say never when it comes to anything related to politics.

Simon Hoare, one of Mr Javid's backers, said he was "delighted" the home secretary had made it through to the next stage.

He told the London Evening Standard: "The only candidate who will now do this is Boris Johnson - and so I'll be supporting him to become our next prime minister".

The International Development Secretary, who is one of the five remaining MPs in the race to take over from Theresa May, said he is considering doing a deal with the Environment Secretary if they can come to a compromise.

A former diplomat who once walked across Afghanistan and was a deputy provincial governor in Iraq after the 2003 USA -led invasion, Stewart is also the only contender regularly asked whether he has been a British spy.

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