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BORIS JOHNSON and Jeremy Hunt will be battling it out to become Britain’s next prime minister.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove narrowly missed making the cut in the second round of voting today after receiving 75 votes.
Mr Hunt received 77 while Mr Johnson scooped up 160.
All 313 Tory MPs voted and there was one spoiled ballot.
Earlier in the day, Sajid Javid fell out of the running after receiving just 34 votes.
Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt’s success means that Mr Johnson and Mr Gove have avoided a rerun of their “psychodrama,” as allies of Mr Hunt described it, that played out three years ago.
The two had previously come face to face in a leadership contest before Theresa May eventually trumped them in getting the job.
Mr Gove had famously betrayed former foreign secretary Mr Johnson by quitting as his campaign manager before putting himself forward as a candidate.
The Evening Standard, edited by former chancellor George Osborne, backed Mr Johnson to become the next PM.
The newspaper’s editorial said: “Twice, the Evening Standard supported Boris Johnson to be the Mayor of London. Today we back him to be the next Prime Minister.”
It claimed that Mr Johnson had the best chance of “uniting this divided government” and “had the most room for manoeuvre to get the country out of the Brexit mess.”
“That’s why we believe if there’s one of these candidates who can give Britain back its mojo, it’s BoJo,” it concluded.
Allies of Mr Hunt had urged MPs to choose the Foreign Secretary to help keep the party together rather than risk a ferocious row between Mr Johnson and Mr Gove.
“Boris and Michael are great candidates but we have seen their personal psychodrama before,” a source said.
There has also been widespread speculation at Westminster that Mr Johnson’s camp would attempt to engineer a way to prevent Mr Gove making the final pair — although the former foreign secretary denied being involved in any “dark arts.”
Mr Johnson and Mr Hunt will now compete in a run-off of the party’s 160,000 or so members. They will take part in a series of hustings in front of Tory members around the country before the votes are counted. The winner will be announced in the week of July 22.
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