LONDON: Rory Stewart’s hopes of becoming the next prime minister were dashed after his support collapsed in the third round of voting by Tory MPs.
The International Development Secretary secured just 27 votes — down 10 from Tuesday’s second ballot — as Boris Johnson again took a commanding lead in the race to Number 10.
Former foreign secretary Johnson appears assured of being one of the two candidates who will face a vote by 160,000 Tory members to choose the next party leader and prime minister after extending his lead over nearest rival Jeremy Hunt.
Johnson received 143 votes, up from 126 on Tuesday, with Hunt on 54, up from 46. Michael Gove was in third place, up 10 from 41 to 51 votes, while Sajid Javid picked up five extra votes to reach 38.
Stewart said: “I am so moved and inspired by the support I have received over the last few weeks — it has given me a new faith in politics, a new belief in our country. I didn’t get enough MPs to believe today — but they will. I remain deeply committed to you and to this country.”