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Cheryl Gillan, the joint acting chairman of the 1922 Committee, announced the results of the first round of voting, saying all 313 Tory MPs eligible to vote cast their ballot. Mr Johnson stormed the ballot by gaining 114 votes, a result which takes him over the 105-vote benchmark needed to secure a spot in the final two. 

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However, the former Foreign Secretary played down the result, thanking his supporters but warning there is still "a long way to go". 

He said: "Thank you to my friends and colleagues in the Conservative and Unionist Party for your support.

"I am delighted to win the first ballot, but we have a long way to go."

Mr Johnson's outstanding result was followed by Jeremy Hunt, who came in second with 43 votes. 

Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who during the weekend was the protagonist of a row after he revealed he used cocaine while he was a journalist, also gained enough support to pass through the second round of voting, obtaining 37 votes.  

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tory leadership contest boris johnson jeremy huntThe 1922 Committee revealed the results of the first round of voting (Image: GETTY)

Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid and Matt Hancock were backed by respectively 27, 23 and 20 MPs.   

And outsider Rory Stewart, the International Development Secretary, also gained more than 17 votes, the benchmark contestants needed to reach to pass through this round of voting, gaining 19 votes. 

After securing enough support to get to the second round of voting, Mr Stewart said he was over the moon.  

He said: "Remember, I had six declared votes and I have more than tripled that, so I'm really really happy and candidates who started that contest with four times the number of declared votes as me are now almost level pegging with me." 

And Justice Secretary David Gauke, one of Mr Stewart's main supporters, presented the International Development Secretary as the main challenger of Mr Johnson.  

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