Voting will get underway today in the Conservative Party with at least one contender for the top job being ruled out.
MPs will hold their first ballot for the leadership of the party with candidates needing to secure at least 17 votes to go through to the next round.
Anyone below that threshold will be eliminated automatically. If they all meet the target then the MP with the lowest number of votes will have to leave the race for Number 10. Voting by all 313 Tory MPs will start at 10am and finish at 12noon with the result announced at 1pm.
Esther McVey and Mark Harper are currently favourites to be booted from the race and Boris remains the most likely to get the job, according to the bookies. The next round of voting will take place next Tuesday and they will need to get 33 votes with balloting continuing until two candidates remain.
Next Wednesday a third ballot will happen and if nobody has been chosen a fourth and fifth ballot will take place a week today. The final two will then take their campaign national with all Conservative Party members getting the chance to vote. The winner will be announced on Monday July 22.
The leadership frontrunner said Britain must leave the EU by October 31, regardless of whether it had been able to negotiate a fresh deal with Brussels. He insisted he did not want a no-deal but said it was essential that the Government prepared for that eventuality as a ‘last resort’.
He cited his record as mayor of London, when he combined policies promoting social justice with support for business and financial services.
The Home secretary insisted he could change the image of the Tories across the country as he stressed his humble background as the son of an immigrant. He said it was time to follow the Scottish Tories and ‘leave the short term comfort zone and throw out central casting’ by picking somebody different.
Mr Javid said the UK must prepare for a no deal, but insisted he could get an agreement through Parliament by October 31. Branding Mr Johnson as ‘yesterday’s news’, Mr Javid said voters wanted to hear the Tories talk about more than Brexit
One of the leaders of the Vote Leave campaign, he said Brexit was an ‘unashamedly personal’ matter for him, although he would be prepared to delay beyond October 31 if negotiations were making progress.
Following the disclosure he took cocaine before entering politics, he sought to get his campaign back on track, taunting his rival and sometime ally Boris Johnson for pulling out of the last leadership contest. The Environment Secretary said he would scrap VAT and replace it with a lower and simpler sales tax.
The Foreign Secretary said he was a ‘serious leader’ for a ‘serious moment’ in the country’s history. He warned the Tories would be ‘annihilated’ if they fought a general election without first delivering Brexit. He said would be prepared to leave the EU without a deal, but signalled he could extend Brexit beyond October 31 if an agreement was in sight.