03:52 GMT +313 December 2019
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    Conservative Party leadership candidate Boris Johnson speaks during the launch of his campaign in London, Britain June 12, 2019.

    Boris Johnson in Pole Position as Three Contenders Crash Out of the Tory Leadership Contest

    © REUTERS / Henry Nicholls
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    Theresa May is now the UK’s caretaker prime minister and the Conservative Party has until 22 July to decide who will be their new leader and the new occupant of 10 Downing Street.

    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.

    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."

    ​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 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.

    ​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.

    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.

    ​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.

    ​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.

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