BROMSGROVE MP Sajid Javid made it safely through the first ballot of Conservative MPs yesterday as he continued his bid to become Prime Minister.
The Home Secretary earned the votes of 23 members and finished fifth behind favourite Boris Johnson (114), Jeremy Hunt (43), Michael Gove (37) and Dominic Raab (27).
Three contenders – Mark Harper, Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey – were knocked out, leaving a field of seven.
Mr Javid officially launched his leadership campaign on Wednesday with a rousing speech at a lectern emblazoned with the words ‘Brexit & Beyond’.
In his address he referred to Boris Johnson as ‘yesterday’s news’ and urged people to not go for the safe option and elect ‘tomorrow’s leader today’.
He also spoke about his upbringing, the racial abuse he had encountered through his life ‘as an outsider’, adding when he applied to join the party he had always supported: ‘They suggested he join the Labour party – because that’s what immigrants and their children do’.
But he said he refused to be labelled, put in a box and be the person people said he should be.
He said he had a plan for Brexit, had laid out a long-term investment plan for education, reiterated his pledge to put 20,000 police officers back on the streets and stressed the important of having strong public services.
He described the teachers who made his career possible, the police officers who kept him safe when the street he grew up on was a centre for drug-dealers and the NHS that cared for his dad in his dying days as ‘his lifelines’.
“These aren’t just numbers on a spreadsheet – they are the beating heart of our country and they deserve a Prime Minister who truly believes in them.”
There will now be further hustings before the second ballot on Tuesday, June 18, where the candidates will need ten per cent of the vote (33 MPs) or more to get through.
Further ballots on Wednesday and Thursday will decide the last two.
It will then go to the grassroots Conservative members who will have until July 22 to vote with a new Prime Minister announced a day later.