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Boris Johnson has the power to fix who he faces in run off, says Robert Peston

Which way will the finger of fate be pointing come the end of the contest? Credit: PA

Many supporters of Boris Johnson are genuinely horrified at the idea of facing Michael Gove in the ballot of members - because they know he can inflict harm on their hero.

So here is the dilemma for Johnson and his team.

Johnson has the numbers - the votes of half Tory MPs - to be able to decide by personal fiat who he faces in the run-off.

The point is that he could instruct a proportion of his foot soldiers to vote for Jeremy Hunt and see off Gove.

But if Johnson's vote does not rise in the fifth and final round, and especially if it falls, everyone will know that he has gerrymandered, which would taint him.

In a way, it would have been infinitely cleverer to lend votes to Hunt in the previous round, if he were so inclined, because the rigging would have been harder to detect.

"What to do, what to do?" as he may well be asking...