Rory Stewart’s leadership bid dashed as he finishes LAST in major Tory members poll

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The International Development Secretary, who has been gathering momentum in the race for Number 10, finished bottom in a YouGov survey which asked Conservative Party members whether each of the candidates would make a good or bad leader. The survey of 892 members from June 11-14 revealed 50 percent think Rory Stewart would make a bad leader, with just 31 believing he would do a good job. Mr Stewart’s leadership hopes had received a boost last night when Cabinet Office Minister and deputy Prime Minister David Lidington said he was backing him.

The support came after Mr Stewart surged to second favourite with the bookies listing him at 10/1 after a strong performance at the Channel 4 leadership debate on Sunday.

Mr Lidington told a pre-Stewart gathering in London: “I think there is a yearning in this country for political leaders who tell it straight to people.

“What Rory has done in his campaign is to demonstrate that there are no no-go areas in this country for him or for the party which he aspires to lead.”

Tory leadership LIVE: Michael Gove in desperate plea as Rory Stewart surges ahead

Tory leadership favourite Boris Johnson topped the poll, with more than three-quarters (77 percent) of the Tory members quizzed believing he would make a good leader.

Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab was in second place on 68 percent, followed by Sajid Javid at 61 percent and Jeremy Hunt with 56 percent of the vote.

But Tory members were split on Michael Gove, despite him finishing third in the first ballot last week, with half (50 percent) believing he would make a good leader, but 45 percent saying he would do a bad job.

READ MORE: What time is second ballot on the Tory leadership today? Who will go?

The Environment Secretary, today made a desperate plea to Tory voters in what appears to be a bid to halt Mr Stewart’s surge.

He told MPs not to “polarise” the Conservative Party, with Mr Stewart winning over Remain voters.

Mr Gove urged his colleagues to avoid aggravating Conservative Party divisions by ensuring both the final candidates are Brexiteers.

He wrote in The Times: “It would be a mistake to put forward two candidates to the final round who will polarise our party.”

Tory members will vote from 3pm to 5pm, with the result announced at 6pm.

Candidates will need to to secure at least 33 votes to reach the final run-off, which will see about 160,000 Tory members select the next Prime Minister.

If all candidates pass the 33-vote threshold, the one with the lowest total will be eliminated and by the end of the week.

Four of the six current riders will be forced out, leaving the final two to go head-to-head for votes from the Tory grassroots.

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