Liam Fox was the first candidate to be eliminated from the race to be the next UK Prime Minister on Tuesday while frontrunner Theresa May picked up the vast majority of votes.
The MP for North Somerset Fox came last in the first round of internal Tory party voting after receiving votes from just 16 MPs. This means that he is out of the running to be the party’s next leader.
May, who is tipped to be David Cameron’s most likely successor, was the victor on the night as expected. The current Home Secretary received votes from 165 Tory MP out of a possible 329.
The result was announced in Westminster on Tuesday evening by Conservative MP Graham Brady, who chairs the party’s 1992 Committee which is responsible for overseeing leadership elections.
The current Prime Minister and Conservative leader David Cameron did NOT cast a vote, according to Sky’s Faisal Islam.
Here is a breakdown of how many votes each candidate received:
THERESA MAY: 165
MICHAEL GOVE: 48
ANDREA LEADSOM: 66
STEPHEN CRABB: 34
LIAM FOX: 16
Fox entered the race as an outsider who wasn’t expected to have a realistic chance of being the UK’s next prime minister. He is a hard Eurosceptic and holds socially conservative views like staunch opposition to abortion.
He was a passionate advocate for a Brexit prior to the June 23 referendum, which means it is likely that the MPs who initially backed his candidacy will flock to one of the two pro-Brexit candidates who remain: Andrea Leadsom or Michael Gove.
This could be fantastic news for Leadsom, whose odds of replacing David Cameron are continually improving and enjoys the support of a significant number of Conservative supporters. A YouGov survey published yesterday indicated that Leadsom is the second most popular choice among Tory party members.
The MP for South Northamptonshire gave an impressive speech in Westminster on Monday which outlined her vision to be a “one nation” Conservative who will unite the country.
Conservative Party leader preference:
T. May: 54%
A. Leadsom: 20%
M. Gove: 9%
S. Crabb: 5%
L. Fox: 5%
(via YouGov / 01-04/07)
— Britain Elects (@britainelects) July 5, 2016
The Conservative Party is in the process of electing a new leader after Prime Minister David Cameron announced his intention to resign in October, after failing to persuade the nation to vote to remain in the European Union.
The party will hold two more rounds of voting on Thursday and next Tuesday, with the losing candidate from each round being eliminated. Once the race has been whittled down to two candidates, party members of no less than three months will then vote for their desired leader by post.
If Leadsom and May turn out to be the two MPs who make the final ballot, it will be the first time in British history that a pair of candidates vying to be a major party leader are both women.
It is worth nothing, though, that no candidate who has won the opening round of voting has gone on to secure the Conservative Party leadership. For example, Cameron was runner-up in first round of the 2005 contest.
Former London mayor Boris Johnson was initially tipped as a strong contender to be the country’s next prime minister however he dropped out of the contest last week.
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