Tory leadership: Gove dealt CRUEL blow as key party heavyweights endorse ...

Boris JohnsonBoris Johnson has received a huge boost in the Tory leadership contest (Image: GETTY)

The former Foreign Secretary has been declared a “proven winner” by a trio of ministers. Rishi Sunak, Robert Jnerick and Oliver Dowden said Boris Johnson is a One Nation Conservative, The Times reported. Mr Johnson is now in the lead with 40 public endorsements, 14 ahead of rivals, Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt.

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Mr Sunak’s support is an enormous blow to Mr Gove who he previously backed along with Mr Jenrick.

David Cameron’s deputy chief of staff, Mr Dowden, previously backed Theresa May.

During a Tory hustings last night, Mr Johnson vowed to deliver Brexit and avoid the “potential extinction” of the Conservatives.

His stark warning was echoed by fellow Brexiteer Andrea Leadsom, who said a delay to the UK's exit from the European Union could "spell the end" for the party.

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