The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the second round of Conservative voting to choose a new leader to replace a disgraced Theresa May. As the second round concluded, attention shifted from front runner Boris Johnson, to insurgent ‘remainer’ Rory Stewart.
CNN reports () that Rory Stewart, the current international development secretary, has been the hands down star of this leadership race. Initially scoffed at by Conservative commentators, Stewart, a self-declared centrist who still backs Theresa May’s Brexit deal, has seen off five candidates, all of whom stood on much harder Brexit platforms. His campaign has clearly spooked the others, who are seeing some of their supporters defect to Stewart.
Improbably, on Tuesday he made it through to the next round of voting, winning the support of 37 Conservative members of Parliament — up from 19 in the last round. It was the biggest leap forward of Johnson’s remaining rivals.
On the face of it, Stewart’s campaign looked doomed to fail. He was virtually unknown before the contest began, with barely a month’s experience in May’s Cabinet and a low-profile job as a junior prisons minister before that. Pitching himself as the only candidate telling the truth about Brexit, Stewart says that May’s deal with Brussels is the only one any prime minister can realistically secure. He says that candidates claiming they can take the UK out of the EU without a deal are lying because Parliament will not realistically allow them to do it.
Borish Johnson has topped the ballot in a second round of voting to decide the new Conservative Party leader, with former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab eliminated from the race to replace Theresa May as the next prime minister.
Johnson received 126 votes from his fellow Tory MPs, steaming far ahead of Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who received 46 votes.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and Home Secretary Sajid David also remain in the race. The five remaining candidates will take part in a BBC debate on Tuesday night.
A third round of voting will take place on June 19.
THEN THERE WERE 5.
Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Rory Stewart, Sajid Javid and Michael Gove are the contenders still in the #ToryLeadershipContest.
Do you back Boris for the top job? 1️⃣0️⃣ pic.twitter.com/rEtRNMlG0J
— RT UK (@RTUKnews) June 18, 2019
Johnson was accused of trying to avoid scrutiny by ducking the earlier debates during the leadership campaign — and his opponents are expected to use the Tuesday debate to pile criticisms on the frontrunner.
The voting by MPs will continue until only two candidates remain. At that point, the wider Conservative Party membership will vote to decide who will replace May and take up residence in 10 Downing Street.
Results from the final ballot are expected in the week beginning July 22, after a month of campaigning by the final two candidates.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.