Conservative leadership contender David Davis will take his campaign to a Midland university today, after he and David Cameron topped a ballot of Tory MPs.
Mr Davis will return to Warwick University, where he gained his degree, as he kicks off a six-week campaign to convince the Conservative faithful to back him in the final vote.
Mr Cameron came first in the poll of his Westminster colleagues last night, with 90 votes. Mr Davis was second with 57 while Liam Fox was third, with 51.
Under Conservative Party rules, Dr Fox now exits the competition, leaving the two remaining contestants to fight it out in a postal ballot of 300,000 party members across the country.
There had been speculation that the candidate who proved most popular with MPs would be crowned the victor without ordinary members being consulted.
But Mr Cameron's margin of victory was too narrow for this to happen, and last night his supporters said they were looking forward to the next stage of the contest.
The result was a dramatic turnaround from the position only three weeks ago, when Mr Davis was the favourite.
The vote seals Mr Cameron's position as the overwhelming favourite to succeed Michael Howard as eader.
Compared with the first round of voting, on Tuesday, he boosted his total by 34.
In contrast, Mr Davis saw his support continue to slide - dropping by 11 votes. He is now likely to face an uphill battle if he is to win the final ballot of the party members.
But Birmingham MP Andrew Mitchell (Con Sutton Coldfield), who is Mr Davis's campaign manager, was upbeat.
He said: "There was some tactical voting yesterday, but we are through and we'll take our case now to the country.
"David Davis will have the chance to prove his claim that he is the candidate who can reach parts of the country others cannot."
Asked if he thought the campaign had gone badly, he said: "No. We were in first place and we are now second, so we are going to win back the initiative and win the election."
Peter Luff ( Con Mid Worcestershire), a high-profile supporter of David Cameron, said: "I'm sure he'll do very well in the country. It will be an interesting and important contest. I am confident David Cameron will win."
Speaking outside Parliament's St Stephen's Gate, surrounded by a crowd of supporters, a beaming Mr Cameron said he was "delighted" with the result.
The shadow Education Secretary said he wanted to be a voice of "change, optimism and hope" and create a Conservative Party for the 21st century.
Mr Davis said: "There's a long time to go, I intend to fight for my beliefs.
"I'm going to start the process by going to my old University of Warwick tomorrow to carry to members of the party and others my beliefs - an opportunity society, in hope for Britain, in changing Britain to improve lives, and particularly to address the issue of reaching those parts of Britain that the Conservative Party hasn't reached for too long."