Boris Johnson has secured the highest number of votes in the first ballot to select the Conservative party leader and next prime minister, the BBC reports.
Three contenders - Mark Harper, Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey - have been knocked out, in the secret ballot held in the House of Commons.
Mr Johnson received 114 votes, Jeremy Hunt was second with 43, and Michael Gove third with 37 votes.
Seven candidates progress to the next round of voting next week.
The two most popular MPs will be put to Tory party members in a final vote later this month.
The winner of the contest to succeed Theresa May is expected to be announced in the week of 22 July.
All 313 Conservative MPs voted in the first ballot.