Another day, another vote in the Conservative party leadership race. Party members who hold a seat in parliament will get to vote again on Wednesday, June 19th, in what marks the third round of polls to determine Prime Minister Theresa May’s successor.
The knockout rounds are designed to narrow down the field to two top contenders. Thanks to four eliminations in two previous rounds and one candidate quitting the race after disappointing results, five candidates currently remain out of the ten who started the contest. The candidate with the lowest number of votes will be knocked out.
Even though the second round only took place one day ago, on Tuesday, there have been several developments since then.
The last candidate to drop out of the race, Dominic Raab, has officially declared his support for frontrunner Boris Johnson. According to the BBC, Raab has said he is now backing Johnson as he thinks Johnson is "absolutely committed" to taking the UK out of the EU by the end of October.
The question of how the remaining candidates plan to handle Brexit was also one of the main topics in a tv debate on Tuesday evening. All five men vying for No 10 -Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid and Rory Stewart - took part in the programme.
The televised panel discussion offered an opportunity for candidates to present their stances and respond directly to some of the most pressing questions viewers from across the country asked. All candidates seemed to struggle when the discussion turned to Brexit and the related issue of the Irish border backstop. Javid, for example, responded by explaining he would use technology to keep the border on the island of Ireland open. However, this solution was reminiscent of the Norway-style border model and has already been discussed and dismissed by parliament.
All five candidates attempted to come across as the one with the most feasible plan. Frontrunner Johnson, who received 126 out of a total 313 votes on Tuesday, almost seemed defensive as he tried to get through the evening without damaging his comfortable advantage in support numbers.
Current Prime Minister Theresa May took part in Prime Ministers Questions earlier in the day, answering questions from members of parliament. The discussion brought back several topics from across May’s career and addressed her legacy as prime minister. Two candidates chose to attend the event and were positioned visibly in May’s vicinity. Jeremy Hunt could be seen just behind her, while Rory Stewart was seated to the side on the front bench.
How the candidates’ performances have affected their colleagues’ choice of vote will emerge later in the evening. Results for the third round of polls are expected for after 6pm BST.