BORIS Johnson has extended his lead in the race to become the next leader of the Conservative Party.

The former foreign secretary, whose leadership bid is supported by both Swindon MPs, secured the backing of 143 Tory MPs in the third round of voting.

Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon, said of the win: "A solid result. He is building momentum into the final rounds tomorrow."

Rory Stewart, the international development secretary, was eliminated from the race after winning 27 votes.

The names of remaining candidates Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid and Boris Johnson will be put to Conservative MPs a final time tomorrow - with all but two candidates eliminated. Party members will cast their votes through July.

After topping the ballot for a third time, Boris Johnson, who turned 55 today, tweeted: "Thank you once again to friends and colleagues for your support in the third ballot - especially on my birthday.

"We've come a long way but we have much further to go."

Jeremy Hunt said he would put his "heart and soul" into giving Mr Johnson the "contest of his life".