Race for the next UK prime minister

Boris Johnson has secured the highest number of votes in the first ballot to select the Conservative party leader and next prime minister.Three contenders – Mark Harper, Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey – have been knocked out, in the secret ballot held in the House of Commons.

Mr Johnson received 114 votes, Jeremy Hunt was second with 43, and Michael Gove third with 37 votes.

Seven candidates progress to the next round of voting next week.

The two most popular MPs will be put to Tory party members in a final vote later this month.

The winner of the contest to succeed Theresa May is expected to be announced in the week of 22 July.

Mr Johnson said he was “delighted to win the first ballot, but we have a long way to go”.

Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt said he was “delighted” to have come second, saying: “This serious moment calls for a serious leader.”

And a spokesperson for Michael Gove’s campaign said: “Everyone had written us off. People said we were going backwards. But we gained support and are in touching distance of second. It’s all to play for.”

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