‘Some people who said they were supporting us, weren’t’: Dominic Raab’s team complain MPs changed their mind at the ballot box as ex-Brexit secretary is eliminated from Tory leadership race with just 30 votes
- Mr Raab finishes sixth in latest ballot of Tory MPs as he limps from 27 to 30 votes
- Former Brexit secretary was the only candidate not to hit the 33 vote threshold
- Allies of Mr Raab claim some Tory MPs said they would back him – but didn’t
Dominic Raab’s allies have complained that MPs who said they were going to back him in the Tory leadership race broke their word at the ballot box as he crashed out of the contest.
The former Brexit secretary was eliminated after finishing bottom of the second round of voting as he failed to secure the 33 votes he needed to have a chance of advancing.
Mr Raab won the support of just 30 Tory MPs – only three more than the 27 he secured at the first round of voting last Thursday amid claims from his campaign team that some people who said they would vote for him did not.
Sir Hugo Swire, a leading supporter of Mr Raab said his preferred choice to take over from Theresa May had failed to make it to the next round because ‘some people who said they were supporting us, weren’t’.
Mr Raab said after the vote result was announced that he was ‘very proud of all the support’ he had won and he was ‘immensely grateful to my terrific team’.
The departure of the former Cabinet minister from the contest is expected to deliver a major boost to Boris Johnson’s campaign with the Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party now likely to swing in behind the former foreign secretary.
Mr Raab and Mr Johnson both advocated similar Brexit policies, ruling out a further delay beyond October 31, and the latter will be viewed by many in the party as the one remaining ‘true Brexit’ candidate.
There are five candidates left in the race to succeed Theresa May after Dominic Raab was the latest to be eliminated. He came bottom in the second ballot after winning just 30 votes
Suella Braverman, a former Brexit minister and supporter of Mr Raab, said she was ‘disappointed’ at the result but praised her choice for the top job as a ‘truly formidable asset’ to the Conservative Party.
Mr Raab’s underwhelming tally means other Tory leadership challengers who similarly struggled to make major gains today were able to live to fight another day and will now take part in the third round of voting tomorrow.
Jeremy Hunt repeated his second place finish from last week but he too only managed to increase his haul by three votes as he went from 43 to 46 while Michael Gove went from 37 to 41.
The major winners of today’s voting other than Mr Johnson, who upped his tally from 114 to 126, were Rory Stewart who surged from 19 to 37 and Sajid Javid who went from 23 to 33.
The Home Secretary squeaked into the next round of voting as he hit the 33 vote threshold needed to advance.
Tory leadership contest rules dictated that candidates needed to win at least 33 votes to have a chance of advancing to the third round.
If all of the candidates had hit that threshold, the one with the fewest votes would have been eliminated.
Mr Johnson is now viewed as being untouchable in the race to make it onto the final ballot when two candidates will be put to the Tory membership to choose from.
The remaining candidates are now locked in a battle to be the other name on the ballot paper but much of the momentum now appears to be with Mr Stewart who started the contest as a rank outsider.
Allies of Boris Johnson believe Jeremy Hunt would be easier to beat in the final head-to-head vote than Rory Stewart (pictured arriving at today’s Cabinet meeting in Downing Street)
At the start of the race there were a number of candidates who advocated harder Brexit positions, splitting the Tory Eurosceptic vote.
But with Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey and now Mr Raab out of the running, Mr Johnson is the only remaining candidate who has firmly committed to taking the UK out of the EU with or without a deal on October 31.
That means he should now secure the support of the vast majority of Mr Raab’s 30 supporters.
Such a haul would put the former mayor of London in an even more commanding position in the battle for Number 10, potentially taking his tally past the 150 vote mark.
The third round of MP voting will take place tomorrow with subsequent votes, if they are necessary, scheduled for Thursday.
Once the final two candidates have been selected they will participate in 16 leadership hustings in the coming weeks.
A winner of the contest is expected to be announced in the week beginning July 22.