THE Tory leadership race is down to just two candidates, who are both hugely divisive figures.
Here we look at the latest bookies’ odds on Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, who are fighting to be the next Prime Minister.
4 Final two. Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will be on the ballot paper for Tory party members
Who has dropped out of the race?
The first to go was Sam Gyimah, who backed down on June 10 after failing to get the necessary eight MP backers to enter the race.
Housing minister Kit Malthouse and Brexit Secretary James Cleverly announced they would run but withdrew shortly before nominations closed.
There were then 10 candidates going into the first round vote on June 13 – but four dropped by the wayside within 24 hours.
Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey and Mark Harper were eliminated after failing to achieve the requisite 17 Tory MPs to get them past the first round.
4 Rory Stewart was eliminated in the race to be Tory leaderCredit: PA:Press Association
Health secretary Matt Hancock, who had 20 backers, withdrew hours later on June 14 after realising he could not win the race.
Dominic Raab exited the process on June 18, after failing to win 33 votes.
On June 19, the third knockout ballot resulted in the elimination of soft Brexiteer Rory Stewart as he shed ten votes to end up with just 27.
Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Sajid Javid faced another round of voting with Javid being dumped.
Finally, Gove was hoofed out on June 20 leaving just BoJo and Hunt to face the Tory faithful in the final ballot.
Who are the final two and what are their odds?
Boris Johnson remains the runaway favourite to be the next Prime Minister and Tory leader.
Here are what the bookies are saying on July 02, 2019, according to Paddy Power.
Boris Johnson – 1/8
4 Boris Johnson is the favourite to become the next Prime MinisterCredit: AFP
Former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is still a hugely popular figure among Tory grassroots and the general public.
Boris quit as Foreign Secretary in July 2018, just hours after Theresa May lost Brexit Secretary David Davis over her Chequers plan to keep close ties to Brussels.
He called on May to stop “dithering” and tell the EU that Britain will not accept the controversial backstop arrangement designed to avoid a hard border in Ireland.
The 54-year-old also pledged to pay for a massive tax break for 3million Brits through money reserved for a No Deal exit – despite being open to a No Deal.
He began his campaign a little later than the other candidates on June 12, in a bid perhaps to steal some of their thunder.
He vowed to deliver a super-fast Brexit.
Jeremy Hunt -11/2
4 Jeremy Hunt is up against Boris Johnson to be the new PMCredit: AP:Associated Press
Mr Hunt was the longest-serving Health Secretary in British history (nearly six years) before replacing Boris as Foreign Secretary.
He left the Department of Health after securing a £20bn funding increase for the NHS, but was hated by junior doctors after changing their contracts so they wouldn’t receive extra pay for the many shifts they work – previously classified as unsociable hours.
Despite campaigning for Remain during the referendum, Hunt now backs the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Just hours after Mrs May resigned, he put his name into the hat to be in the running to replace her.
On June 5, Trade Secretary Liam Fox threw his support behind Hunt in a surprise move, followed by two heavyweights – prominent leaver and defence secretary Penny Mordaunt and work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd.
Hunt opened his leadership bid by claiming the new PM might not be able to start renegotiating with the EU until November 1 because its new Commission only starts then.
Why did Theresa May resign?
Theresa May stepped down as Tory leader without delivering Brexit and with her party on the verge of extinction.
May claimed she had done all she could to take Britain out of the EU with a deal, saying: “Ever since I first stepped through the door behind me as Prime Minister, I have striven to make the United Kingdom a country that works not just for a privileged few, but for everyone. And to honour the result of the EU referendum.
“If you give people a choice you have a duty to implement what they decide. I have done my best to do that.
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“Sadly I have not been able to do so. I tried three times – I believe it was right to persevere even when the odds against success seemed high.”
May survived a vote of no confidence in December 2018, but repeated thwarted attempts to pass her Brexit deal left her without authority.
May will remain as Prime Minister until a new party leader is announced in the week beginning July 22.
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