The Conservative leadership candidates faced one of life’s great levellers when they were asked the nightmare interview question: what is your greatest weakness?
During a virtual hustings hosted by the the Conservative Home website, the final five were taken into standard job interview territory – and the answers were revealing.
Kemi Badenoch: I’m can be flippant.
First up, Badenoch said hers was “allowing my sense of humour to look like I’m flippant about issues”.
She added: “I do recall situations where I have been a bit jokey and and people were offended or thought I wasn’t taking them seriously. So that is something I have worked on. Now I am very careful about how I use my words, especially in parliament at the dispatch box, especially in the media.”
The only non-cringey response came from Kemi Badenoch who said her sense of humour can make her seem flippant about things
— Eleni Courea (@elenicourea) July 15, 2022
Rishi Sunak: I’m a perfectionist.
Sunak essentially said he strives too hard for perfection – the answer of all answers.
He said: “Most people know I probably have a reputation for working hard, and getting across the details.
“I think in these jobs, especially the more senior you get, you don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
“Part of what I have had to do over time – and what I am constantly working at – is getting that balance right between ... across the detail and understanding every aspect of something, and then realising I know as much, or have done as much, as I need to on that, and my time is better spent elsewhere.”
It’s worth noting perfection didn’t extend to spell checking.
Oh bloody hell Rishi Sunak says his greatest weakness is working too hard and being across all the details.
— Robert Hutton (@RobDotHutton) July 15, 2022
Rishi Sunak's closing statement boasting of his own "competence" and "seriousness" would have been more effective were he not sitting in front of a sign which misspells the word 'campaign'. pic.twitter.com/n4D7M65QyZ
— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) July 15, 2022
Liz Truss: I’m excessively over-enthusiastic.
Truss also flirted with a humblebrag as she said has in the past she had been “excessively over-enthusiastic and sometimes I have to rein myself in”.
She added: “That is what I think we need to do now, I think we need to focus on getting the economy going, and not try and do too much.”
On a question about their greatest weakness, Kemi Badenoch says she's too funny, and Rishi Sunak says he works too hard. Liz Truss says she's too enthusiastic. Not sure they're quite getting the point of this question.
— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) July 15, 2022
Penny Mordaunt: My Burmese cats.
Mordaunt said she was was “tempted to say Burmese cats, as I have four and introducing them into No 10 might present some challenges with Larry”.
And her real answer didn’t seem like a weakness: “I think I’ve over the years have learned to be able to delegate to become more effective. But I think all of us are going to need to learn to build a team of all the talents in the party.”
Mordaunt appears to be saying she needs to learn to delegate more to her cats? she has this in the bag
— Matthew Zeitlin (@MattZeitlin) July 15, 2022
Tom Tugendhat: I love the army too much
Tugendhat, who has made his military background a central pillar of his campaign, said: “I know this is going to surprise you but I may talk about the Army a little too much, which is possibly a weakness.”
He added: “But it would be wrong to think it was a one size fits all. I know it’s not for everybody, and I know we do need to find many other organisations that help in different ways.”
I loved @ConHome question to Tory candidates about their greatest weakness. @RishiSunak is way too diligent, @trussliz is too enthusiastic, @TomTugendhat is too loyal to the army, @PennyMordaunt is too much of a team player and @KemiBadenoch is way too funny. Such self knowledge!
— Robert Peston (@Peston) July 15, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.