Dominic Raab out of Tory leadership race as five proceed
Dominic Raab has been knocked out of the Tory leadership race in the latest ballot of MPs, leaving five candidates in the battle to be the next PM.
Boris Johnson once again came top of the second ballot, with 126 votes – 12 more than in the first round.
Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid and Rory Stewart also got enough votes to make it into the next round.
Mr Raab was eliminated after coming last with 30 votes, three fewer than the minimum needed to progress.
The former Brexit secretary had called for the UK to leave the EU without a deal on 31 October if necessary.
He also caused controversy by refusing to rule out suspending Parliament to thwart attempts by MPs to block a no-deal Brexit.
The surviving five candidates will take part in a live BBC debate in central London at 20.00 BST.
And the next ballot will take place on Wednesday, with the candidate with the lowest number of votes eliminated.
Mr Hunt again came second in the latest ballot of 313 Tory MPs, with 46 votes – three more than in last week’s first vote.
Mr Gove and Mr Javid also increased their level of support – by four and 10 votes to 46 and 33 votes respectively.
But it was Rory Stewart, the international development secretary, who made the biggest stride forward, nearly doubling his backing from 19 to 37 votes.
The BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said it was likely that most of Mr Raab’s supporters would transfer their votes to Mr Johnson, but, she said, “there will certainly be a scrap for them.”
And she pointed out how close the result was for the other candidates, adding: “In tomorrow’s vote a couple of moves here and there could make all the difference.”
‘Not done yet’
Tory MP Gillian Keegan said Mr Stewart was appealing to his colleagues because of his “realistic plan” for Brexit and his progress showed there was a “market for honest politicians”.
“I think Rory is extraordinary. He has star quality you don’t often see in politics.”
Johnny Mercer, a supporter of Mr Johnson, said he was pleased by his performance but conceded the contest “was not done yet”.
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who is backing Mr Hunt for the top job, said he remained in a “strong” second place.
She told the BBC the foreign secretary remained “a serious candidate for a serious job”.
The BBC’s Nicholas Watt said he had been told by a source close to Mr Javid that he would not be dropping out of the race even though he secured the lowest number of votes.
Simon Hoare, one of Mr Javid’s backers, said he was “delighted” the home secretary had made it through to the next stage.
He said “barring emergencies” Mr Johnson would make it into the final two candidates and appealed to Tory MPs to think “tactically” about who should join him.
Guy Opperman, who is backing Michael Gove, said a frontrunner “had never won” a Tory leadership contest and he believed MPs would ultimately “coalesce” around an alternative to Mr Johnson.
He said Mr Gove had “clawed his way” back into the contest after days of negative newspaper headlines at the start of the campaign following his admission he had taken cocaine while working as a journalist in the late 1990s.
As “a committed Brexiteer”, he said he expected Mr Gove would pick up the overwhelming share of Mr Raab’s 30 supporters in the next round.
The remaining candidates will face up to three further ballots later this week, where the lowest-ranked MP will be knocked out until only two are left.
The final two names will then be put to a postal vote of the 160,000 Tory party members, beginning on 22 June, with the winner expected to be announced about four weeks later.