Tory leadership: Matt Hancock withdraws from the race
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock has quit the contest to become Conservative Party leader has not endorsed any of his former rivals, but told the BBC he was “talking” to them all.
Mr Hancock, 40, was the youngest contender, before he dropped out of the race.
He is the MP for West Suffolk and was promoted to health secretary after a few months as culture secretary.
He campaigned for Remain during the EU referendum but is now seen as an ally for brexiteer ministers.
During the first ballot on Thursday, Boris Johnson was the winner taking 114 votes.
His nearest rival, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, got 43 votes.
Michael Gove was third with 37.
Dominic Raab was fourth with 27 votes and Sajid Javid was in fifth place with 23.
Matt Hancock votes: Matt Hancock announced today he is withdrawing from the race, but who will get (Image: EPA)
But where will Matt Hancock’s 20 votes go now?
The Health Secretary held talks with fifth-place rival Sajid Javid last night but waited until this morning to announce he was bowing out.
He told Sky News he would make an announcement on who he will back as new leader in the next few days but sources said Team Javid had been “working hard” on Mr Hancock.
But does that mean the Home Secretary will win Matt Hancock’s votes?
Matt Hancock votes: The 20 votes Matt Hancock won on Thursday will now be up for grabs (Image: EPA)
Brexit is the biggest issue for Prime Minister Theresa May ‘s replacement and therefore it seems most likely that each candidate has won favour due to their take and plans for Brexit Britain.
In terms of Brexit, Mr Hancock said that leaving with no deal is not an option and so it is a choice between leaving with a deal and not leaving at all.
The health secretary has set out a "Brexit delivery plan", which involves setting up an Irish Border Council to come up with a plan for avoiding a hard border in Ireland.
He said he would "seek a time limit to the backstop" and proposes negotiating a comprehensive free trade agreement, which would involve leaving the single market and the customs union.
He also said that he would "enshrine the rights of EU citizens in law".
Matt Hancock votes: Sajid Javid seems likely to win some of Matt Hancock’s votes (Image: GETTY)
Sajid Javid also supported the Remain campaign supporter before the Referendum vote in 2016.
His plan for Brexit is similar to Mr Hancock’s, having said he would focus on the Withdrawal Agreement, with changes to the backstop.
The Home Secretary has also talked about "a new digitised" Irish border, which could be "done in a couple of years" and would not involve any infrastructure on the border and added that he would make a "grand gesture" to the Irish government by paying for this necessary infrastructure to digitise the border.
Mr Javid also said he cannot envisage circumstances where he would want an extension to the UK Brexit deadline and that country must therefore prepare for a no-deal Brexit.
These key similarities make it likely that some of Mr Hancock’s supporters will flock to Mr Javid’s camp.
But who else is a contender for these votes?
Matt Hancock votes: Jeremy Hunt won 43 votes on Thursday, but will this number change now? (Image: GETTY)
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was the second most popular candidate following the first ballot with 43 votes.
He also supported the remain vote during the 2016 referendum and backed a second referendum with any withdrawal agreement.
During parliamentary deliberations, he backed the proposal to keep the UK in the single market.
However, in 2017, Mr Hunt said he changed his mind over Brexit, due to the "arrogance of the EU Commission".
He is less opposed to a no deal Brexit altogether and has said that if the only way to leave the EU was with no deal then he would do that, although it is not his preferred option.
Mr Hunt added that he believes there is a prospect of doing a better deal and he is in favour of changes to the Withdrawal Agreement and he thinks it is possible to get them made by the deadline in October.
He also wants changes to the Irish backstop and has proposed sending a new negotiating team team to Brussels, which would include representatives of the European Research Group (the group of Conservative MPs who support harder forms of Brexit) and members of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party.
Matt Hancock votes: Rory Stewart won 20 votes in the first ballot for tory leadership (Image: GETTY)
Rory Stewart is also believed to have been a member of the Remain camp originally in 2016.
On Thursday, he won 19 votes during the first ballot, placing seventh.
Mr Stewart has said a no-deal Brexit would be "catastrophic" and that it is "undeliverable" and "unnecessary".
The international development secretary is advocating citizens' assemblies for Brexit to negotiate a compromise.
He added that he will focus on pushing through Mrs May's existing deal, as there is "no evidence" the EU will offer another deal, so it is possible he will gain votes with Matt Hancock leaving.
Matt Hancock votes: The remaining Tory leadership candidates, who will win? (Image: Express.co.uk)
Three candidates: Mark Harper, Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey, were knocked out on Thursday and it is not clear to which candidates their supporters will transfer their votes – in total this means there are 50 votes currently up for grabs.
Matt Hancock told the BBC: “‘ve tried to make the argument about the values that the Conservative Party needs to hold dear, of free enterprise and support for a free society and being open and optimistic and enthusiastic about the future.
“But the party clearly is looking for a candidate to deal with the here and now.
“I very much put myself forward as the candidate focused on the future, and so I’ve decided to withdraw from the race and instead see how best I can advance those values within the party and the big and difficult tasks we’ve got ahead.”
Mr Hancock said the remaining six candidates all had “admirable qualities”, but has yet to throw his support behind another candidate.
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