Candidates seeking to become Britain’s next prime minister are warning that the Conservative Party needs a real contest, rather than a coronation for front-runner Boris Johnson.

Johnson, a former foreign secretary, has a big lead after the first round of voting by Tory lawmakers. On Sunday he received the backing of Esther McVey, one of the candidates eliminated from the race last week.

Six contenders remain, with Johnson by far the favorite. Lawmakers are set to narrow the field this week in a series of elimination votes, with the final two names put to a vote of Conservative members nationwide.

Conservative Party leadership contender Sajid Javid arrives for the Conservative National Convention meeting in central London, Saturday June 15, 2019.  Britain's Conservative Party is holding a contest to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, and party legislators will continue to hold elimination votes until the final two contenders will be put to a vote of 160,000 Conservative Party members nationwide, with the winner due to become Conservative Party leader and prime minister late July. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)
Conservative Party leadership contender Sajid Javid arrives for the Conservative National Convention meeting in central London, Saturday June 15, 2019. Britain’s Conservative Party is holding a contest to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, and party legislators will continue to hold elimination votes until the final two contenders will be put to a vote of 160,000 Conservative Party members nationwide, with the winner due to become Conservative Party leader and prime minister late July. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)

But some have suggested that stage could be skipped if Johnson is too far ahead.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who is in fifth place, says it is important to have “a robust final round.”

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