Members of Britain’s governing Conservative party will now have a month to choose between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt as their preferred future leader, a position that presently entitles its holder to be the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
The fifth round of the Conservative leadership ballot was concluded in the Palace of Westminster Thursday afternoon, following just hours on from the fourth round in the morning which saw Home Secretary Sajid Javid knocked out.
Boris Johnson – 160
Jeremy Hunt – 77
Michael Gove – 75
Votes Cast – 313
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will now go through to the final round of the competition, where they will be voted on the 124,000-odd members of the Conservative party
While it is possible the second-placed candidate could now choose to pull out of the competition allowing first-placed Boris Johnson to be “coronated” as the new leader without further delay, this is unlikely.
Second-place challenger Andrea Leadsom chose that path in the 2016 leadership election following the resignation of David Cameron in the aftermath of him losing the Brexit referendum against the British people, a decision which led to the coronation of Theresa May as Prime Minister. It is felt within the Westminster bubble that it would be better for the competition to go full term this time.
It is also possible that despite having been the overwhelming winner of the poll of Conservative members of parliament who have been the ones voting to this point, now the ballot for the final two is going out to the wider members of the Conservative Party across the country Hunt may believe he is in with a chance of winning.
As Breitbart London reported of Boris Johnson’s candidacy earlier today:
While Johnson has presented himself as a hard Brexiteer since the referendum and for this leadership race, there have been some doubts about his sincerity over believing in Brexit. While his alleged wobble over whether to back Brexit or not in the 2016 referendum is now well known, the fresh support Johnson received today from the remain-backing Evening Standard newspaper will cause further concern.
Edited by former Chancellor George Osborne — the senior Tory who appeared to lead efforts in the referendum campaign to scare the voting public out of considering independence, what was then known as ‘Project Fear’ — the paper praised Johnson for being the best candidate to derail Brexit.
Noting he had credibility with pro-Brexit voters and members of Parliament, the editorial pondered that he was most likely to use that power to delay Brexit, pass a soft-Brexit deal through parliament, or even nullify the Brexit referendum with another. A second referendum is a favourite strategy for anti-Brexit politicians to cancel Brexit altogether, as some have admitted publicly.
Mr Hunt succeeded Johnson as Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary after a long and troubled tenure as Secretary of State for Health, after the latter resigned from Cabinet over incumbent prime minister Theresa May’s so-called Chequers plan for an ultra-soft Brexit.
Hunt is himself a former Remainer in a similar mould to Mrs May’s immediate predecessor, David Cameron. He nevertheless attempted to present himself as a man who could deliver a “Managed No Deal” during the period when her premiership was in jeopardy but not yet doomed, and insisted he would choose No Deal over no Brexit.
Having seemingly failed to convince Brexiteers of his sincerity, however, he has since reverted to type, indicating that he will delay Brexit yet again if a deal with the EU cannot be struck by the new October 31st deadline, and claiming that pushing No Deal through would be “political suicide”.
This story is developing. More follows.