British Conservative party leadership and prime minister contender Boris Johnson leaves his home in south London, Thursday June 20, 2019. The race to become Britain's next prime minister is down to the final four on Wednesday, as Boris Johnson stretched his lead among Conservative lawmakers and upstart Rory Stewart was eliminated from the contest. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

The Latest: UK Tories narrow prime minister race to 3

June 20, 2019 - 8:12 am

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on choosing Britain's next prime minister (all times local):

1:10 p.m.

The contest to become Britain's next prime minister is down to its final three candidates, with Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt chasing front-runner Boris Johnson for a spot in a deciding runoff.

Johnson gained 157 of 313 votes cast by Conservative lawmakers Thursday in their fourth round of voting. Gove received 61, leapfrogging Hunt, who has been in second place until now but got 59.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid came fourth with 34 votes and drops out.

A second vote Thursday will select the final two contenders, who will go to a by-mail ballot of all 160,000 Conservative Party members nationwide. 

The winner is due to be announced in late July, and will replace Theresa May as party leader and prime minister.

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9 a.m.

Britain's governing Conservatives were set to pick two candidates who will square off to become the country's next prime minister.

Tory lawmakers will vote to eliminate two contenders from a four-strong field that includes ex-foreign minister and London mayor Boris Johnson, current Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Home Secretary Sajid Javid.

Johnson has a commanding lead after three rounds of voting that cut the list from an initial 10 contenders. The three others are battling to join him in a runoff to be decided by 160,000 Conservative Party members nationwide.

All the candidates are vowing to lead Britain out of the European Union, a challenge that defeated outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May. She quit as Conservative leader earlier this month after failing to win Parliament's backing for her Brexit deal.

The winner of the contest, due to be announced the week of July 22, will become Conservative leader and prime minister.

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Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit and the Conservative Party leadership race at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit

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