UK PM candidates fight for 2nd place with Boris Johnson

Last Updated: Wed, Jun 19, 2019 11:27 hrs
Britain's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Boris Johnson, arrives in Downing Street for a cabinet meeting, in central London

London: The UK's prime ministerial race narrowed to five candidates from six after a crunch vote on Tuesday when ruling Conservative Party MPs voted in a secret ballot for the second time to whittle down the list of contenders further.

The candidates are competing to become the next Conservative Party leader and the UK's next Prime Minister after Theresa May was forced to step down over her failure to deliver Brexit. She remains in the post at Downing Street as a caretaker leader until a new premier is elected.

Boris Johnson once again came top of the second ballot, with 126 votes, 12 more than in the first round, with former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab falling three short of the required 33 votes to be officially out of the race now.

With the former UK foreign secretary a clear frontrunner in the race to replace Theresa May, the contest now mainly revolves around the second most popular candidate.

Cabinet ministers Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove are seen as the lead contenders for that second spot to take on Johnson, with home secretary Sajid Javid trailing behind.

International development secretary Rory Stewart, who was placed last in the first secret ballot of Tory MPs last week, is widely seen as the underdog in the contest as he now overtook Raab to stay in the running.