Tory leadership debate: Carmella's eye-roll speaks for us all

Carmella from Southampton was unconvinced by the answers from the candidates

While none of the Tory leadership contenders covered themselves in glory at the televised hustings on the BBC last night, it was a member of the public who emerged as one of the true stars of the night.

A woman called Carmella from Southampton asked the five leadership candidates for reassurance about what would happen in the event of no deal, an outcome wanted by most Tory party members, and when she failed to receive an adequate answer she rolled her eyes and became a social media star.

"As a mother of three with a husband in the property industry," she asked, "if we have a no deal my husband could lose his job and my children face an uncertain future - why are you even contemplating a no deal Brexit ?"

None of the candidates did much to make her feel better. Michael Gove, who picked up 41 votes in the second round of the leadership election yesterday to come in third place agreed that no deal could cause some "economic turbulence" but argued that "we've got to leave the European Union"

"We need to make sure that we're ready for whatever comes," Gove said. "Of course there are challenges with no deal but we're a great country we can get through it."

RACE FOR NUMBER 10: MORE FROM YAHOO UK

***********

Michael Gove: The Brexiteer aiming to heal Tory rifts and land the top job?

Jeremy Hunt: Can the ‘true blue Tory’ see off his rivals and land keys to No.10?

Boris Johnson: He’s the bookies favourite… But can he deliver?

Sajid Javid: Will the ‘outsider’s’ rise to success help him become PM?

***********

Frontrunner Boris Johnson said: "I think it's very important for Carmella to understand that none of us want a no deal Brexit" but that it was only "responsible" for people to prepare for the alternative.

Sajid Javid, who scraped into the next round of voting with just 33 MPs plumping for him, said that "we could prepare more", while second-placed Jeremy Hunt told Carmella "the reason we need to keep no deal on the table is to get a deal but it should only be a last resort".

Boris Johnson put himself up for a rare opportunity if public scrutiny

Wildcard Rory Stewart, who doubled his tally of MPs to 37, was the only candidate to rule out no deal.

"In the end, we're in a room with a door and the door is called Parliament, and I am the only person here trying to find the key to the door," he told Carmella.

From left: Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid and Rory Stewart

"Everybody else is staring at the wall shouting 'believe in Britain'."

However despite his being the only dissenting voice, it was during Stewart's answer that Carmella had had enough and sighed heavily and rolled her eyes.

Labour MP Jess Phillips was one of many to back her, tweeting "Carmella for PM" and saying to Johnson that she was "not prepared and you are playing chicken with her life".

And Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former press supremo, said: "Carmella in Southampton - your headshake is winning the debate hands down."

A YouGov poll carried out just after the debate found that Rory Stewart was seen to have performed best in the debate by the general public.

Conservative voters on the other hand thought Boris Johnson was the winner.

Mr Stewart this morning addressed the odd moment during the debate when he removed his tie, telling the BBC he was ‘trying to restore normality’ after ‘drifting off into an alternative reality.

Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK