Hunt questions Johnson's Brexit pledge as Tory contest enters third round

Friday, 21 Jun, 2019

(AP Photo/Vudi Xhymshiti). British Conservative party leadership contender and Home Secretary Sajid Javid leaves BBC House after a TV debate in central London Tuesday, June 18, 2019.

Party members will then decide the new leader - and the country's new prime minister. The former Brexit secretary had attacked Boris Johnson's political style, asserting that "bluff and bluster" wouldn't deliver Brexit.

Speaking as he waited to enter the room to vote, candidate Jeremy Hunt, now in third place after the morning tally, said he was feeling "confident but not overconfident..."

Carmella's open dissatisfaction with the responses to her fears over the potential economic damage of a no-deal Brexit won her fans on social media.

Talks are understood to have already begun between Mr Stewart and Mr Gove over a possible endorsement.

Global development minister Rory Stewart continued his against-the-odds challenge by almost doubling his support base to 37.

Dominic Raab has been dumped out of the Tory leadership race after a late surge in support for outsider Rory Stewart.

The former foreign minister was far ahead of the rest of the pack, stretching a lead which, for many, makes Mr Johnson the all-but-inevitable victor to replace Theresa May and take on the UK's ill-fated Brexit negotiations.

And Simon Clarke, a supporter of Mr Johnson, suggested some MPs may have "freelanced" outside the official campaign.

Insisting that the way to unify a divided country was to be "honest and realistic", he said: "If I were lucky enough to be your prime minister I am committed that there would never be "no deal" - it is unnecessary, it is damaging, and it is so unnecessary and damaging that it is not even a credible threat".

Mr Johnson's victory had been widely expected, but Mr Gove and Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt have been engaged for several days in a close fight for second place.

Amber Rudd said she was "excited", adding: "Fingers crossed for Jeremy Hunt".

Today's rounds of voting will narrow the field to just two candidates, with the final announcement due to be made at 6pm.

Jeremy Hunt said Sajid Javid's performance in the leadership contest was a "credit to him and the party".

Following the result of the final ballot, Mr Gove congratulated his rivals and said he was "naturally disappointed but so proud of the campaign we ran".

Speaking to media outside the select committee, Peters said he has always thought Johnson was a victor.

"If I make it to the final I will put my heart and soul into giving him the contest of his life: in politics today the unexpected often happens", he tweeted.

"The stakes are too high to allow anyone to sail through untested".

Mr Hunt received 77 votes and Mr Gove was knocked out of the contest after receiving the fewest with 75.

Former candidate Dominic Raab left the room after voting without speaking to journalists.

The contacts reflected the growing awareness among the "stop Boris" MPs that they will eventually have to rally behind one contender.

"2016 was a very awkward moment - I think that's fair to say. And if there's something which I think deserves challenging. then I won't resile from that, and I don't think he would expect me too either".

Boris Johnson looks to have the first part of the leadership race wrapped up.

All the candidates except Stewart insist they can renegotiate the text with the European Union - despite repeated warnings from Brussels that it will not do this.