BORIS Johnson will today try and crush Michael Gove’s run for No10 in a bid to leave his rival Brexiteer “humiliated”.
Mr Gove goes up against Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid to become the final challenger to runaway favourite Boris.
By this evening Tory MPs will have picked which two of the four candidates should make the shortlist for party members to choose between.
BoJo backers are desperate to knock out Mr Gove – because they’re furious he stabbed Boris in the back after the EU referendum.
One told the Daily Telegraph they have a “visceral hated” of the Environment Secretary thanks to his antics in 2016.
As MPs voted for the last time:
- Boris Johnson was warned over his Brexit policy by EU chiefs
- Jeremy Hunt‘s supporters accused the frontrunner of dirty tricks
- Michael Gove lobbied Rory Stewart’s backers to switch their votes to him
- Sajid Javid made a last-ditch bid for momentum to carry him over the line
The fourth ballot of MPs opened this morning at 10am and will close at midday, with the result announced an hour later.
The fourth-placed contender will be eliminated – with the other three going through to a fifth ballot open between 3.30pm and 5.30pm.
This evening Tory bosses will announce the names of the two final candidates – almost certain to be Boris and one other.
It’s claimed BoJo backers are planning to vote for Mr Javid in the fourth round in a bid to push Mr Gove into last place.
Amber Rudd, who supports Mr Hunt, called on the frontrunner to distance himself from any dirty tricks campaign.
She said: “I find all this conversation about lending votes rather discrediting of the system.
“I would really call on Boris himself to repudiate the information that is coming out of ‘friends of Boris’, saying this, saying one thing.
“This is a serious moment. We don’t need that sort of game playing going on in Parliament.”
Yesterday Mr Stewart, who was knocked out after going backwards in the third ballot, accused Mr Johnson’s team of “dark arts”.
This morning he promised to stay quiet about which candidate he now supports.
Mr Gove is hoping of winning his backing and has been furiously lobbying Mr Stewart behind the scenes.
Timetable of Tory leadership election which will pick new PM
June 20, morning: Fourth ballot of MPs, open 10am-12pm; fourth-placed candidate eliminated
June 21, afternoon: Fifth and last ballot of MPs, open 3.30pm-5pm; fifth-placed candidate eliminated
June 22: Final two candidates take part in first members’ hustings, set to take place in Birmingham
July 8: Tory bosses send out postal votes to all party activists
July 22: Result announced this week, in time for Commons recess to begin
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This morning the Environment Secretary said: “I’m looking forward to making it through to the final two and looking forward to a civilised debate of ideas so we can make this country better.”
Mr Hunt added: “Big things are going to change today.”
Mr Javid, seen as most likely to finish fourth, said: “These things can be unpredictable so I want to go for it and try my very best.”
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