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Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt in final fray for UK PM

Johnson polled 160 votes in the final fifth round, and Hunt 77. Over 1.2 lakh party members will now cast their votes on the two in the coming weeks, with the result being announced in the week beginning July 22.

india Updated: Jun 20, 2019 23:41 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Johnson finishing one of the final two candidates was a certainty after he polled over 100 votes in previous rounds.
Johnson finishing one of the final two candidates was a certainty after he polled over 100 votes in previous rounds.(AFP PHOTO)
         

Frontrunner Boris Johnson and foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt emerged as the final two on Thursday after five rounds of voting by 313 Conservative MPs in the first of the two-phase election for the next prime minister of the United Kingdom.

Johnson polled 160 votes in the final fifth round, and Hunt 77. Over 1.2 lakh party members will now cast their votes on the two in the coming weeks, with the result being announced in the week beginning July 22.

Johnson finishing one of the final two candidates was a certainty after he polled over 100 votes in previous rounds. The real contest was for the second place between Hunt and environment secretary Michael Gove (75), after home secretary Sajid Javid was eliminated earlier on Thursday.

Javid, son of an immigrant bus driver, became the first Asian and non-white politician to come close to becoming the prime minister in a multicultural country where the number of non-white MPs in the House of Commons has been growing in recent elections.

After being eliminated, Javid said he was “proud to have made the case for being a party that heals divisions, protects our precious union, embraces modern Britain, and brings Conservative values to new audiences, and that my team has navigated this contest in an honest, decent and straightforward way”.

He hoped his candidacy could be an example “to kids who look and feel a bit different to their classmates, those who don’t have as many toys, or private tutors, those who feel like outsiders and wonder whether “opportunity’ is just for other people”.

The leadership election has been triggered by Theresa May stepping down as the Conservative leader, and consequently as the prime minister, over her controversial approach to Brexit. She remains in office until either Johnson or Hunt is elected in July and takes over.

First Published: Jun 20, 2019 23:41 IST

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