- Sajid Javid was eliminated from the race to replace Theresa May as Conservative Party leader and prime minister.
- The home secretary fell out in the fourth round of voting after losing support from Conservative MPs.
- The race for second place behind Boris Johnson is now between Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove.
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LONDON – Sajid Javid has been eliminated from the race to replace Theresa May as Conservative Party leader and prime minister.
The home secretary received fewer votes than his three rivals in a secret ballot on Thursday morning, with support consolidating around Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove, the two candidates who colleagues believe are best-placed to take on Boris Johnson in the final two.
Javid said he had been “truly humbled by the support I have received”.
“If my ambition and conduct in this contest has set an example for anyone, then it has been more than worth it,” he said.
Boris Johnson once again topped the poll, winning 157 votes from Conservative MPs, while Michael Gove jumped into sceond place with 61 votes. Hunt, who placed second in the first three rounds of voting, placed third with 59 votes.
Two of the votes were spoilt ballots
Javid, who was seen as an outsider in the leadership race, played a prominent role in the contest, winning plaudits for making all other candidates agree to hold an independent inquiry into Islamophobia in the party if they become prime minister.
He was appointed as Home Secretary in 2018 and has also served as Business Secretary and Culture Secretary..
Conservative leadership contest 4th round results
- Boris Johnson: 157
- Michael Gove: 61
- Jeremy Hunt: 59
- Sajid Javid: 34
A fourth and final round of voting will take place on Thursday evening, where the third-placed candidate will be knocked out. The result is due at around 18.15 GMT.
Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, and Michael Gove, the environment secretary, are facing a tough race to secure the support of enough colleagues to place second in Thursday afternoon’s vote.
Gove said he was “absolutely delighted” with the third-round result, adding: “If I make the final two I look forward to having a civilised debate of ideas about the future of our country.”
A source in the Hunt camp told journalists: “Sajid Javid ran an excellent campaign that has demonstrated the depth and strength of the Conservative Party.
“Jeremy is the best candidate to take on Boris Johnson in the final two and give the party a real choice.
“Boris and Michael are great candidates but we have seen their personal psychodrama before: it’s time to offer the country someone the EU will actually talk to. Jeremy is the candidate who can best unify the Party and deliver Brexit.”
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, one of Hunt’s most prominent backers, told the BBC: “He’s been the strongest performer throughout previous rounds and it will come down to Sajid’s votes, his supporter base.”
“I think that will split a number of ways and people will have been canvassing those individuals but you can’t tell until the votes are in, so for us here in Westminster it’s going to be a very exciting afternoon.”
One from the remaining two candidates will then be selected as the next Conservative leader in July by the party’s 160,000-or-so members.
The winner will be announced on July 22.
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