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>> Dr. Liam Fox, having the lowest number of votes, has been eliminated.>> Former Defense Secretary Liam Fox, the first to fall in Britain's Conservative leadership race. 330 Tory MPs casting their ballots in the first vote to find a new Prime Minister. Just one of the five candidates was supposed to face elimination, but Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb didn't stick to the script, throwing in the towel after coming fourth.
But for those still in it there are some big dates ahead. On July the 7th and then the 12th, Conservative lawmakers will again whittle down the numbers until just two candidates remain. I'm Reuters reporter Jacob Greaves in Downing Street, where the final decision on who will walk through this door on September the 9th will be taken by party members.
But Home Secretary Theresa May already has her foot in the door. She took 50% of the vote and an endorsement from Stephen Crabb to boot. Her position strengthened after he suggested a one horse race might be in the national interest.>> So I totally recognize the argument for why we need to get in place as quickly as possible a new strong leader.
That's partly why I've taken the decision in the best interest of the country and the nation to pull out of the race now even though I could have fought on for at least another round yet.>> But the two other candidates still running might see it differently. Brexiteer Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom leaped the first hurdle, managing 20% of the vote.
Justice Secretary Michael Gove, perhaps with more of a limp on just 15%. Both are still backing themselves to go the distance. Gove saying that some 150,000 Conservative Party members should have the choice between a Remain and Leave candidate. But one thing we've learned from Britain's EU referendum, is a lot can change in the space of a day.
Safe bets in UK politics seem a thing of the past and September the 9th is some way off.