Boris Johnson has come out ahead in the first round of the MPs’ ballot for leader of the Conservative Party.
Mr Johnson got 114 votes, ahead of Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on 43, Environment Secretary Michael Gove on 37 and former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab on 27, as three contenders were forced to bow out after failing to reach the threshold of 17 votes on Thursday, 13 June.
Boris Johnson says with a straight face he will "unite this country and unite this society".— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) 12 June 2019
The same man who described black people as "piccaninnies", mocked Muslim women as "bank robbers" and peddled lies throughout the referendum.
Britain deserves so much better than this.
Sajid Javid, who narrowly survived into the second round with 23 votes, described Mr Johnson on Wednesday, 12 June, as "yesterday's news."
He said: "We need tomorrow's leader, today. Not the same old insiders with the same old school ties - but a new generation, with a new agenda."
Amber Rudd talking up Jeremy Hunt against Boris Johnson is how I must sound arguing Sunderland 17 points adrift might still avoid relegation with six games to go— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) 13 June 2019
But Tory MPs - many of whom went to Eton, Harrow and other top public schools - seem to have disagreed with Mr Javid.
International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and Health Secretary Matt Hancock narrowly squeaked through with 20 and 19 votes respectively but they may well bow out and throw their weight behind Mr Johnson, Mr Hunt or Mr Gove.
The important number to remember is that Boris Johnson would become prime minister with a working majority of just four seats.— George Eaton (@georgeeaton) 13 June 2019
The three candidates who were eliminated were ex-chief whip Mark Harper and former ministers Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey who got 10, 11 and 9 votes respectively.
People like Boris Johnson always get what they want in the end, and that’s a pretty succinct summary of what’s wrong with the world— Abi Wilkinson (@AbiWilks) 13 June 2019
The 20 MPs who backed them will now have to decide in the second round on 18 June whether to back Mr Johnson or one of his rivals.
I spent two years as a journalist in China, and I'm not sure I can remember reading a piece in the state media as weirdly sycophantic as this by Alison Pearson on Boris Johnson. pic.twitter.com/lZC7J13Xzp— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) 13 June 2019
Mr Johnson said he was "delighted" to top the first round but said "we have a long way to go."
Mr Hunt said: "This serious moment calls for a serious leader."
In his speech launching his leadership bid on Wednesday, Mr Johnson vowed to push through Brexit and defeat “insurgent parties” - meaning Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party - and the “red-toothed, red-clawed socialism” of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.
The former Foreign Secretary made much of his record as Mayor of London between 2008 and 2016, when he claimed to have cut the murder rate and built 100,000 affordable homes, although he did not mention that most of those homes were only 80 percent of market rent, which critics say was not affordable.
#r4today Esther McVey spent £8,750 of taxpayers money on a personal photographer! All so she could finish last or thereabouts in the Tory Leadership Contest (talk about a vanity project)! pic.twitter.com/NXbSMjbNFD— jarvis (@jarvis44194767) 13 June 2019
Further ballots will be held next week, with the two most popular MPs making their way onto a ballot paper which will be sent out to all 100,000 members of the Conservative Party, with the winner being announced next month.
On the basis of these numbers, Hancock, Javid, Raab, Stewart will all drop out next Tuesday.— Theo Usherwood (@theousherwood) 13 June 2019
We could therefore have a result of the final two next Wednesday. https://t.co/9y8EAnBRKn
Thursday’s vote was a secret ballot and more than a quarter of the 313 Conservative MPs - including Theresa May - have not said who they are supporting.
Although Mr Johnson is leading after the first round he may not necessarily win.
In 2001, Michael Portillo led the votes at the first and second stages but did not make it onto the final ballot and Iain Duncan Smith eventually won the contest.
Tory leadership candidates as Bond villains:— El Hijo Del Santo (@iamsammypanther) 11 June 2019