Conservative MPs will vote in the second round of the party’s leadership contest this afternoon, choosing between the six candidates remaining: Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab and Rory Stewart. The results are expected at 6PM. The candidates receiving fewer than 33 votes will be eliminated from the race, and if all candidates pass the threshold, the one with the lowest amount of votes will be eliminated. All of the contenders remaining after the second round are due to participate in a televised debate on the BBC at 8PM.
Five of the contenders yesterday answered questions about their Brexit policies from lobby journalists in the House of Commons. Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson did not attend.
Stewart, the International Development Secretary, said a hundred Conservative MPs could “vote to prevent a No Deal Brexit without having to bring down a Conservative government.” This comes as the Minister for Cabinet Office, David Lidington, formally endorsed Stewart yesterday.
Meanwhile, Gove, the Environment Secretary, told journalists it was a “folly” to rule out an extension of Article 50 after 31 October, adding, “I think all the candidates know, in their hearts, that if we were so close to securing a deal and were making progress, the House of Commons would not allow a No Deal exit.”
Separately, in an article for The Times, Gove argues that the final two candidates put before the party membership “should be candidates who believe in Brexit, who can deliver it and who can unite the party.” He adds, “it would be an error to put forward candidates who don’t share that belief.”
This morning the former House of Commons Leader and former leadership contender, Andrea Leadsom, announced her support for Johnson.