Boris Johnson ‘already won’ Tory leader race as he claims 72% support

The former foreign secretary was backed by 72 per cent of respondents in the survey by the website ConservativeHome. Rival Jeremy Hunt was supported by 28 per cent of the 1,319 people who took part in the poll. The survey also suggested the contest was all but over, with 71 per cent of respondents saying they had already sent in their postal votes. 

A Johnson campaign source said: “It’s clear that Boris is the only candidate trusted by the electorate to deliver on Brexit and that is the only way to get voters back into the Conservative fold.” 

But Mr Hunt’s allies rejected suggestions that the race for the Tory crown was over, claiming Tory chiefs had received only about a third of ballot papers. 

Paul Goodman, the editor of ConservativeHome, said: “If the survey is correct, Johnson has won this contest already. Even if the entire 28 per cent of those who haven’t voted yet opt for Hunt, he cannot catch the frontrunner.” 

About 160,000 Tory members have until the end of next week to return their ballot papers, with the result to be declared on July 23. 

The winner is expected to take charge in Downing Street the next day. Last night Mr Johnson said the mole who leaked diplomatic emails by the ex-British ambassador to the US, which criticised President Donald Trump, should be “hunted down and prosecuted”. 

At a hustings in Maidstone, Kent, he denied throwing Sir Kim Darroch “under a bus” by failing to back him explicitly in a televised debate. 

Sir Kim quit his post the next day. 

Mr Johnson said: “There has certainly been an attempt to politicise this issue and to take the career prospects of Sir Kim and turn them into an issue in the Conservative Party leadership contest. I don’t think that should happen… 

“I don’t think that issues of personnel in our civil service should become footballs in political conversation.” 


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