The former Foreign Secretary is forecast to annihilate the rest of the field in the first ballot, by gaining the backing of more than double his nearest rival. Sky News data of 234 of the 313 Tory MPs so far reveals Mr Johnson has the support of 83 Tory MPs – 49 more than his closest challenger Jeremy Hunt, who leads the trailing pack on 34. When the much-anticipated result is announced at around midday, the analysis predicts just five candidates will proceed to the second vote, with Michael Gove, Dominic Raab and Sajid Javid also making the cut.
The crucial ballot result could then change the whole dynamic of the race.
One backer of Mr Johnson told The Daily Telegraph: “Once the first round is out of the way, you will quickly see other candidates folding because they will have one eye on a Cabinet job.”
The divisive Brexiteer could however face a series of obstacles along the way, after BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg revealed he has already promised the same Cabinet role to four different people.
Ms Kuenssberg told BBC Politics Live: “I couldn’t help but think that this morning, one of the MPs that supports Boris Johnson said to me ‘one of the problems is there are already four potential Home Secretaries that have been promised the job by Boris Johnson’.”
Mr Johnson officially launched his leadership campaign yesterday, three-years after ending his bid to succeed David Cameron following the 2016 EU referendum.
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox gave Mr Johnson a rockstar welcome and fully endorsed the frontrunner, he stated the country needs someone with a “personality big enough, strong enough and with imagination to rise to the historic challenge”.
Mr Johnson, watched on by senior Tory MPs including Jacob Rees-Mogg, Priti Patel and Iain Duncan Smith, said he did not want to leave the European Union without a deal but it is only responsible to plan for that scenario.
The Brexitter also issued a stark warning to MPs and stated they would “reap the whirlwind” if they tried to thwart Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc.
Mr Johnson referenced his record on tough issues such as crime, housing and investment during his eight years as Mayor of London.
Speaking in the London, Mr Johnson said he could replicate his work in the Capital across the whole country and bring people together if he was the become Tory leader.
He said: “To sum up my mission in a sentence: What I want to do now, with your help, is to do for the whole country what we did in London – releasing the creative energies of our country and its people and healing its divisions.”
He added: “I took this city through riots and strikes and all the teething problems of the Olympics.
“We brought this city together with renewed infrastructure, with renewed and relentless emphasis on education and technology.”
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