POLITICS
20/06/2019 13:06 BST | Updated 20/06/2019 13:11 BST

Sajid Javid Eliminated From Tory Leadership Contest

Michael Gove leapfrogs Jeremy Hunt into second place behind Boris Johnson.

Sajid Javid has been eliminated from the Conservative leadership contest, after coming last in the latest round of voting.

The home secretary only received 34 votes in the fourth ballot of Tory MPs.

Boris Johnson topped the poll with 157 votes. Michael Gove has moved into second place on 61 with Jeremy Hunt in third on 59.

MPs will vote again later today to decide which of Johnson, Hunt and Gove will be the final two to face the party membership.

Johnson has dominated the contest so far and is all but certain to breeze into the head-to-head. 

It has been suggested Johnson could ask some of his supporters to tactically vote for Hunt in the fifth and final ballot to ensure Gove is knocked out.

Hunt has promised to take the UK out of the EU, but having campaigned for Remain in 2016 he may find it harder to win over the eurosceptic party grassroots than Gove, a longtime Brexiteer.

Amber Rudd, who is backing Hunt, said talk of Johnson tactically distributing his votes to other candidates was “discrediting” the system.

“This is a serious moment. We don’t need that sort of game playing going on in parliament,” the work and pensions secretary told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.

Referring to reports that Johnson supporters would vote strategically to try and scupper Gove’s chances, Nicky Morgan, who backs the environment secretary, said: “There has been all sorts of speculation.

“But, I would say to my colleagues, I think that is an extremely good reason why Michael absolutely should be in the final two.”

Eliminated candidate Rory Stewart has said he will not publicly back any of the remaining candidates.

He Tweeted: “I will not be declaring for anyone today - but I will be voting.”

The final two will take part in a month-long battle for the votes of the 160,000 party members before the winner is announced on July 22.