SAJID Javid has warned that the contest for the next Prime Minister must not "look like a debate at the Oxford Union" as he battled to secure the support needed to remain in the race.

As MPs began voting in the second round, the Home Secretary - the only candidate left in the race not to have gone to Oxford University - said it would not be "healthy" for the party if all the candidates left in the contest had similar backgrounds.

It is widely thought that Mr Javid alongside Dominic Raab, the Brexit Secretary, are struggling to get the 33 names needed to avoid elimination.

Rory Stewart, initially the outsider, is believed to be picking up support.

However, as the contest is decided by secret ballot, no one really knows until the votes are announced. This is due to happen at 6pm just two hours before the surviving candidates face each other and an audience for a live TV head-to-head on the BBC.

As reported by The Herald on Saturday, MPs’ minds are turning to tactical voting given that Boris Johnson, with 114 votes from the first round, is so far ahead. His supporters can afford to “lend” their votes to another candidate in the hope it will prevent the strongest challenger getting through to the final two-candidate stage.

Initially, it was thought that Michael Gove was the one Mr Johnson wanted to avoid in the final stage but, given Mr Stewart’s rise, becoming the bookies’ second favourite, it is now believed supporters of the former Foreign Secretary are considering supporting Jeremy Hunt in a bid to ease out the Scot.

The atmosphere outside Committee Room 14 were the voting is taking place is tense.

Mr Stewart, asked if he was confident of getting the necessary 33 votes, said: "No." Asked if he was despondent, he replied: "No. It's on the edge."

Mr Javid and Mr Raab both made clear they were "quietly confident" while Mr Johnson went in and went out of the committee room without answering questions from the gaggle of journalists waiting outside.

Theresa May, asked who she had voted for, told reporters as she exited in a hurry: "None of your business."

Allies of Mr Javid, who won 23 votes in the first round, privately acknowledged it would be "close" and claimed Mr Stewart's camp were trying to win over his supporters.

The International Development Secretary secured just 19 votes last week but his campaign has gathered momentum and he hopes to get the 33 required.

"I think we're there but it's tight," a campaign source said.

Last night, David Lidington, the Prime Minister’s de facto deputy, came out in support of Mr Stewart.

This morning, Andrea Leadsom, the former Commons Leader, swung behind Mr Johnson, saying he was the "best placed to get us out of the EU at the end of October" and an "election winner".

Andrew Bowie, the Aberdeenshire MP, who is the Prime Minister’s Private Parliamentary Secretary and who backed Matt Hancock, the UK Health Secretary, in the first round, is now also supporting Mr Johnson as is Douglas Ross, the MP for Moray.

Mr Javid, the state-school educated son of a Pakistani bus driver, has a background which is in stark contrast to rivals including Old Etonians Mr Johnson and Mr Stewart.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "If we end up in a situation where the final two, three, four even, are people from similar backgrounds with similar life experiences, it will look like a debate at the Oxford Union and I just don't think that's healthy for the Tory Party."

The Home Secretary joked that his style was "less Homer's Iliad and more Homer Simpson".

In a sign that the contest is becoming more personal, a former aide to Mr Javid claimed Mr Stewart's supporters were targeting the Home Secretary's backers "urging them to vote for Rory so we can offer 'something different' in final two".

On Twitter, Mr Javid's ex-special adviser Nick King added: "Saj's dad was an immigrant. Saj went to his local comp and an FE College. Rory went to Eton and Balliol just like Boris."

Mr Stewart is trying to position himself as the "change" candidate who can defeat Mr Johnson in the July run-off.

He told Today he had "no problem" being the "stop Boris" candidate and that he would "love" to go against Mr Johnson in the final two.

"I have no problem with that, and I would love to go against him in the final two in order to give members the chance to choose whether they want Boris's Brexit or mine."

Sources in Mr Raab's campaign were "quietly confident" he would pass the threshold, having secured 27 votes in the first round.

In a new campaign video Mr Raab said his love of karate and boxing had "been pretty good in terms of preparing me for other big moments".

He highlighted the importance of education, saying "everyone should have the opportunity to go as far as their talents can take them".

Meanwhile, Michael Gove, who came third in the first ballot with 37 votes, said the final two candidates should "believe in Brexit" and be able to deliver it and unite the Tory Party.

"It would be a mistake to put forward two candidates to the final round who will polarise our party," the Environment Secretary wrote in The Times.

Who Scottish Tories are backing:


John Lamont(Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)


Ross Thomson(Aberdeen South)

Colin Clark(Gordon)

Andrew Bowie(West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine)

Douglas Ross(Moray)


David Mundell(Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale)

Kirstene Hair(Angus)

David Duguid(Banff and Buchan)

Stephen Kerr(Stirling)

Luke Graham(Ochil and South Perthshire)

Bill Grant(Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock)


Paul Masterton(East Renfrewshire)


Alister Jack(Dumfries and Galloway)