After a second round of voting by MPs, with a third to come on Wednesday, the remaining five Tory party leadership contenders, including the frontrunner Boris Johnson, tested themselves in a BBC TV debate. It was a sometimes confusing and occasionally shouty hustings. But how did everyone do?
Overall pitch? The sensible grownup who isn’t Johnson. And, did he mention he’s an entrepreneur?
Best line? To Boris Johnson about a sheep farmer if there was no deal:
He would look at you and say: ‘Boris, you got your dream, you got to No 10, but you destroyed my dream – a family business.’
Worst moment? Attempting to wind back from his endorsement of Donald Trump’s tweet lambasting Sadiq Khan in a debate about prejudice and Islamophobia. “I am married to an immigrant,” he said, a bit awkwardly.
What now? He keeps pushing on, and remains in second place, but an uninspiring performance will not boost his chances.
Overall pitch? The original Brexiter, an experienced pair of hands – and an implacable opponent of Jeremy Corbyn.
Best line? On being the first of the panel to advocate Brexit:
Because I started this, I will finish this. I will ensure we will leave the EU in good order.
Worst moment? Possibly his answers on the Irish border and a no-deal Brexit – though this was hard for all of them.
What now? Steady as she goes for Gove. He could well still make the final two, but will be anxiously looking over his shoulder at Rory Stewart.
Overall pitch? The outsider: the man in favour of the little guy. But still likes Brexit.
Best line? Bouncing the other candidates into a policy on live TV:
Do we all agree? Shall we all have an external investigation into Islamophobia?
Worst moment? Perhaps his unconvincing insistence he could ditch the backstop in a revised Brexit deal.
What now? Javid did relatively well, and while he only squeaked into the next round of voting, he should be slightly buoyed.
Overall pitch? Sober and sensible. Basically tried to escape without any significant damage.
Best line? Short on applause lines, but his response to accusations of Islamophobia drew the most commentary:
When my Muslim great-grandfather came to this country in fear of his life in 1912, he did so because he knew it was a place that was a beacon of hope and of generosity and openness, and [had] a willingness to welcome people from around the world.
Worst moment? The entire section on foolish words having consequences. Looked slippery, especially in claiming his gaffe on Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe “didn’t, I think, make any difference”.
What now? Still the clear front-runner, still almost certainly the next PM, but slightly diminished by exposure.
Overall pitch? Did I mention I’m different? And the only one telling the truth?
Best line? One that might not endear him to Tory members:
I’m going to be straight with people. I don’t think this is the time to be cutting taxes. I’m not thinking about the next 15 days, I’m thinking about the next 15 years.
Worst moment? Possibly the sudden removal of the tie, a moment perhaps intended to show spontaneity but which seemed contrived.
What now? The latest vote saw Stewart increase his tally by the greatest amount – but in the debate he seemed unconvincing.