A series in which we ask some key questions of the leading contenders – seven, in the case of the leading ones. They may not be the most convenient, but that’s why we’re asking them.
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1. According to David Jeffrey’s calculation, you are a candidate of one wing of the Conservative Brexit debate: 83 per cent of your MP backers voted Leave. How could you possibly hold the Party together as its leader?
2. Your Brexit plan seems to be to improve the Withdrawal Agreement, and to pursue No Deal if you can’t. But what’s to stop pro-Remain Tory MPs blocking No Deal and bringing your Government down?
3. Shouldn’t you recognise what other candidates less identified with Brexit, such as Jeremy Hunt, have already grasped – that the Withdrawal Agreement and May’s Deal are dead?
4. Trust in the Conservative Party is at an all-time low, and voters don’t know you. Won’t they write you off, however unfairly, as “just another Tory”, and stick with the Brexit Party in any autumn election – or not vote at all?
5. Leave aside for a moment the desirability or otherwise of proroguing Parliament in order to deliver Brexit – an option you won’t rule out. On what basis do you believe that the Queen would go along with it?
6. You’re committed to cutting income tax by 5p – a penny a year. Where are the detailed calculations that show balancing spending reductions, thus making the plan credible?
7. You’ve put out more policy than any other candidate: 22 pledges by one count. Isn’t Rachel Wolf right to suggest that any runner in this position is making rushed commitments that he won’t be able to deliver?
Tomorrow: Sajid Javid.