Race for UK's PM heats up

McVey Leadsom and Harper have been knocked out of the Tory leadership race due to lack of support leaving Johnson leading the remaining seven

A person dressed as a chicken stands outside as Boris Johnson leaves his home on Thursday.

He agreed to take part in a televised debate on Tuesday but not one on Sunday.

He also denied using cocaine since a "single inconclusive event" more than 30 years ago.

The former Foreign Secretary said it is "perfectly realistic" to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement to allow the United Kingdom to leave the European Union in October.

Johnson dismissed growing criticism of his past refusal to speak to reporters and said he was ready to debate everyone left standing after Tuesday's vote.

"I think this is incredibly unfair, actually".

Johnson received 114 votes, Jeremy Hunt was second with 43, and Michael Gove third with 37 votes.

Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt accused Mr Johnson of hiding from the media and preventing a wider debate in the party.

"If you're not up for the TV debates and the test that provides, people will argue it's a barometer for what would happen if you get the job".

Johnson collected more votes than his three nearest rivals in the first ballot held by the 313 Conservative lawmakers in the lower House of Commons on Thursday.

He tweeted: "I have made a decision to withdraw from the race to be the next leader of the Conservative Party".

"I will talk to all the other candidates about how these values can be best taken forward". No deals have yet been done, the people said.

She did note that Mr Johnson would likely survive the first vote of no confidence.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, the current leader of the pack and figurehead of the Brexit campaign, said that although he was not aiming for a no deal scenario, he would not take the option off the table as a vital negotiating tool.

A campaign spokesman for Mr Stewart added the next leader must demonstrate they have the capability to "win back old voters and win over new audiences".

In a statement, Hancock said: "I ran as the candidate of the future, but the party is understandably looking for a candidate for the unique circumstances we face right now".

But cabinet minister David Lidington - who had backed Mr Hancock - told the BBC's Political Thinking with Nick Robinson podcast: "The Conservative Party started having elections for its leaders in 1965. I would resign after 36 years".

"I believe he fails the test", Amin stated resolutely, going on to detail that he would not remain a Tory member if Johnson took the helm after outgoing Theresa May.

A source said: "Boris has told Esther that he will give his backing to blue-collar Conservative policies, such as the need to invest in the Midlands and North".

Such a move would be highly controversial within the party following criticism of the "coronation" of Theresa May, without giving the members a chance to vote, after Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the 2016 contest.

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