Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey OUT of the Tory leadership contest

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A woman will not replace Theresa May as Prime Minister after MPs refused to back Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey in their droves.

Ms Leadsom, who pulled out of the battle with Theresa May in 2016, failed to get the backing of her party who flocked to Brexiteer Boris Johnson instead.

She only received 11 votes in today's secret ballot - six short of the 17 the former Leader of the House of Commons needed to get through round one.

Esther McVey stood as a hardline Brexiteer, taking Britain out of the EU with No Deal in October and sacking all remainers from the cabinet.

The former TV journalist has this week been dogged by a row with former colleague Lorraine Kelly, who snubbed her on Good Morning Britain this week, and came last in round one on nine votes.

Former whip Mark Harper, who admitted he would delay Brexit, also crashed out today, receiving ten votes.  

Andrea Leadsom - 11 votes

Andrea Leadom crashed out of today's contest - receiving just 11 votes from MPs today

Andrea Leadom crashed out of today's contest - receiving just 11 votes from MPs today

Former Cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom posted a selfie with fellow contenders Rory Stewart and Esther McVey looking in good spirits - but she was knocked out today

Former Cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom posted a selfie with fellow contenders Rory Stewart and Esther McVey looking in good spirits - but she was knocked out today

The former leader of the House set out plans for a 'managed exit' from the EU, saying leaving by the October 31 deadline is a 'hard red line'.

Today said she was feeling 'very positive and optimistic and hopeful that I will be getting enough support from colleagues to go through to the next round' - but it wasn't the case.

She dismissed claims Parliament would be able to block no deal, saying it was the 'legal default position'.

On domestic policy, she said her priorities were building new homes, cutting crime, promoting business and delivering a carbon neutral economy.

Mrs Leadsom, the Leader of the House of Commons, resigned in protest after the Prime Minister committed to giving MPs a vote on whether there should be a second Brexit referendum.

In her resignation letter, Mrs Leadsom wrote: 'I no longer believe that our approach will deliver on the referendum result.'

Allies of Mrs Leadsom said that she had warned the Prime Minister at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that she could not accept her new Brexit plan. 

Mark Harper - 10 votes

Mark Harper came out of the gate to blast his colleagues for promising No Deal but crashed out of the contest today. 

The outsider had challenged voters to 'ask me anything' - but got the most coverage when he was grilled over whether a lion would beat a bear in a fight. 

Former chief whip Mark Harper opened the floor to questions at the formal launch of his bid to take over from Theresa May

Former chief whip Mark Harper opened the floor to questions at the formal launch of his bid to take over from Theresa May

At the formal launch of his bid to take over from Theresa May this week he was first interrogated on his Brexit plan.

But the would-be PM was hit with a more left-field inquiry about a showdown in the animal kingdom.

He was asked at the event in Westminster: 'Who would win in a fight, a lion or a bear?'

Thinking on his feet, Mr Harper replied: 'On the basis that the lion is the symbol of Britain, I'm going to say the lion.'

During his press conference, Mr Harper risked the wrath of hard Brexiteers by warning it is 'not going to be possible' to leave the EU on October 31.

The former immigration minister admitted he might upset some in his party by not promising to deliver Brexit by the current Article 50 deadline.

But he said: 'It is not credible to say you can renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement and get it through both Houses of Parliament by October 31.'

Mr Harper sought to play

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