The remaining four Tory leadership hopefuls will face a double-elimination today, with the result of the first secret ballot expected at around 1pm. A further vote will then take place to select the final two, leaving it up to Conservative Party members to decide who will become the next prime minister. Frontrunner Boris Johnson is almost certain to make the deciding ballot after coming out on top in each of the three rounds so far.
Yesterday Rory Stewart became the latest contender to be eliminated from the contest, leaving Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Sajid Javid as the final four.
Mr Johnson topped Wednesday’s third ballot with 143 votes, with Mr Stewart being knocked out after securing the backing of just 27 Tory MPs.
It is too close to call who will join the former foreign secretary in the final leg of the race.
The difference between Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in second, and Environment Secretary Michael Gove in third was just three votes - with 54 and 51 supporters respectively.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid came in fourth place with 38 votes.
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Tory leadership candidates have threatened to boycott future BBC debates (Image: Getty)
8.33 update: BBC threatened with probe after leadership debate
MPs have called for watchdogs to probe the BBC’s handling of its televised Tory leadership debate, due to the ensuing vetting row.
The BBC has been criticised for failing to properly vet members of the public who put questions to the candidates, with two of the contributors having posted hugely offensive social media posts - something the beeb failed to spot.
The TV broadcaster also failed to point out that one of the pair had worked for the Labour Party.
Former Tory leader Ian Duncan Smith said there was “clear bias” against the Tories and called for regulator Ofcom to probe the BBC’s handling of the debate.
He said: “The BBC must apologise and someone must be brought to book. It is appalling.”
Boris Johnson is likely to make the final two Tory leadership contenders (Image: Getty)
8.28am update: Candidates threaten to boycott BBC debates
Tory leadership candidates are threatening to boycott future BBC debates after the broadcaster’s “biased” mismanagement of Tuesday night’s hustings.
The BBC was blasted