TORY leadership hopeful Rory Stewart says he has “no problem” being the “stop Boris” candidate - and would “love” to go against Mr Johnson in the final two.

The Penrith and the Border MP was speaking after making it through to the next stage of the contest, with Dominic Raab eliminated yesterday, having secured just 30 votes.

There are now five contenders - Mr Johnson in the lead with 126 votes, followed by Jeremy Hunt (46), Michael Gove (41), Mr Stewart (37) and Sajid Javid (33).

They all took part in a live TV debate on the BBC last night.

Some political analysts have billed Mr Stewart as the best bet for stopping Mr Johnson becoming the next Prime Minister.

Mr Stewart said: “I have no problem with that and I would love to go against him in the final two in order to give members the chance to choose whether they want Boris’s Brexit or mine,” he told BBC Radio 4.

With Mr Johnson appearing certain of a place in the final two, the contest has become a battle for a spot alongside him in the ballot of 160,000 Conservative Party members who will choose the next leader.

Home Secretary Mr Javid warned that the leadership race risked looking like a debate at the Oxford Union if the final candidates are all from similar backgrounds - unlike himself, who was educated at a comprehensive school.

Mr Javid said: “If we end up in a situation where the final two, three, four even are people from similar backgrounds with similar life experiences and it will look like a debate at the Oxford Union and I just don’t think that’s healthy for the Tory Party.”



Environment Secretary Mr Gove also reacted with an apparent warning to Tories about the prospect of Mr Stewart, who voted Remain in 2016, making it through onto the final ballot paper.

He said: “The final two should be Brexiteers who are able to take on (Jeremy) Corbyn, unite the party and deliver Brexit.”

Mr Stewart’s latest result came after he secured just 19 votes in last week’s first round.