Two cabinet ministers were left fighting it out yesterday to join Boris Johnson in the run-off vote to become Britain’s next leader, amid fresh warnings of the risk of a “no deal” Brexit.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Environment Secretary Michael Gove are vying to compete against frontrunner Johnson in a ballot of members of the governing Conservative Party next month.
All three contenders have promised to take Britain out of the European Union as quickly as possible, with the current exit date set for October 31.
All have refused to rule out leaving without a deal on future arrangements with Brussels, although Hunt and Gove say they might delay Brexit for a short time if a deal was close.
The race to succeed Prime Minister Theresa May began with 10 candidates, but Conservative MPs have whittled these down in a series of secret ballots.
In the fourth round of voting yesterday morning, interior minister Sajid Javid was knocked out.
Johnson cemented his lead by winning the support of 157 Tory MPs. There are 313 in total, but two ballots were spoiled.
A fifth and final round of voting will take place on Thursday afternoon, after which Johnson and either Hunt or Gove turn their sights on wooing 160,000 Conservative party members.