Cumbrian MP Rory Stewart has been knocked out of the race to become the next Prime Minister.

The international development secretary secured just 27 votes, placing him last out of the five leadership candidates to make it through to the third round.

Large numbers of Conservative Party MPs once again backed Boris Johnson, with the former foreign secretary taking 143 votes cast in tonight's ballot.

Mr Stewart, initially ranked as an outsider in the leadership race, enjoyed a surge in support as the contest progressed, with research company YouGov declaring him the winner of last night's BBC debate among those polled.

However, he secured 10 fewer votes tonight than in yesterday's second round vote.


According to the rules of the Conservative Party leadership election, with Mr Stewart coming last in the third round of voting, he has now been eliminated from the race.

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt came a distant second place in tonight's vote, with 54 votes.

Michael Gove was close on his heels, with 51 votes.

Sajid Javid received 38 votes.

Speaking to the BBC following the result of the ballot, Mr Stewart said he was disappointed to have been knocked out of the race.

"I'm disappointed because I think our country is at a moment of great crisis," he said.

"I'm disappointed because I think the long-term future of our party and our country must be in the centre ground."

He stressed his unhappiness at the prospect of the Conservative Party shifting further to the right, should a no-deal Brexit be widely embraced under a Boris Johnson premiership.

"The fact that Lib Dem voters or Labour voters wanted to vote for me is something to be proud of, it's something we should embrace as a party.

"In the end perhaps, what I was saying about a no-deal Brexit being catastrophic, or that you can't negotiate a new deal probably proved to be truths that people weren't quite ready to hear.

"I would conclude that the Conservative Party aren't ready to hear that message, but I think the public are.

"Everyone else sees there is a gaping hole in the centre ground of British politics.

"We can save that, and in the end I trust the British people."

The results:

Boris Johnson: 143

Jeremy Hunt: 54

Michael Gove: 51

Sajid Javid: 38

Rory Stewart: 27