Everything you need to know about the final candidates for the Tory leadership
The final contest to be the new leader of the Conservative Party will be between favourite Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, the man who replaced him as Foreign Secretary.
Mr Johnson secured support from more than half the Tory Party in the Commons with 160 votes, while Mr Hunt had 77 votes, just ahead of Environment Secretary Michael Gove on 75.
The result in the fifth and final ballot came after Mr Gove had managed to finish second in the fourth round, sending shockwaves through the contest.
Party members are to decide the new leader – and the country’s new prime minister.
Here is how the final two leadership contestants have proposed to take the top job.
– Boris Johnson
He has dominated every round of voting among Tory MPs to reach the final stage of the contest.
Mr Johnson secured support from more than half the Tory Party in the Commons with 160 votes, while Mr Hunt had 77 votes.
After the result in the fifth and final ballot Mr Johnson, a leading figure in the Leave campaign, tweeted: “I’m deeply honoured to have secured more than 50 per cent of the vote in the final ballot. Thank you to everyone for your support! I look forward to getting out across the UK and to set out my plan to deliver Brexit, unite our country, and create a brighter future for all of us.”
He says Britain must leave the EU by October 31, regardless of whether a fresh deal has been brokered with Brussels.
He has insisted he does not want Britain to depart without a deal, but that the Government must prepare for that eventuality as a “last resort”.
Mr Johnson was educated at Eton before arriving at Oxford University, where he would associate in the Bullingdon dining club with former PM David Cameron.
A journalist by profession, he was first elected to Parliament in 2001 while editor of The Spectator magazine.
He would hold two posts as a shadow minister – once under Mr Cameron – before leaving Westminster to take the helm at City Hall for two terms as mayor of London.
It was that job he chose to focus on when he launched his bid for the Tory crown, and not his two-year stint as foreign secretary which came to an end last year.
Joining his opponents in a TV debate for the first time on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said he would lift the National Insurance threshold for the low-paid, but added that there should be a “debate” about the 40p higher income tax rate, which currently kicks in at £50,000.
Addressing the October 31 deadline for Brexit, he said it must be met “otherwise, I’m afraid, we face a catastrophic loss of confidence in politics”.
Mr Johnson soared past his colleagues in the second round of voting on Tuesday with 126 votes, 80 votes ahead of his nearest rival.
– Jeremy Hunt
Mr Hunt was locked in a close fight with Mr Gove for second place for several days. In the previous ballot earlier on Thursday, Mr Gove had overtaken his rival only to see his lead reversed in the final MPs’ vote.
After the vote which put him in the final two in the leadership contest, Mr Hunt tweeted: “I’m the underdog – but in politics surprises happen as they did today. I do not doubt the responsibility on my shoulders – to show my party how we deliver Brexit and not an election, but also a turbo-charged economy and a country that walks tall in the world.”
He is the son of Admiral Sir Nicholas Hunt and was educated at the prestigious Charterhouse school before attending Oxford as a contemporary of Mr Johnson and Mr Cameron.
He made his wealth after setting up an educational publishing firm and first entered Parliament as an MP in 2005.
Mr Hunt has been installed as a secretary of state four times and currently heads the Foreign Office.
Pitching for Tory leader, he stated his case as a “serious leader” for a “serious moment” in the nation’s history.
He warned his party colleagues that the Conservatives would be “annihilated” if they entered a general election before Brexit.
During Tuesday’s debate, Mr Hunt said he would delay beyond October 31 if a deal was in reach, as “if we were nearly there, then I would take a bit longer”.
He married his wife Lucia in July 2009 and they have a son and two daughters.