SKETCH: Our Next Prime Minister, BBC1

NEVER mind the threat from China, supermarkets security-tagging Lurpak, or any other sign that the UK is going to hell in a wonky trolley. Which earrings was Liz going to wear?

That, if you were Nadine Dorries, was the question of the night as BBC1 helped a tiny portion of the population choose their party leader. Oh, and the next Prime Minister besides.

It would have been cheaper to bring Mrs Trellis of North Wales first class to London than send coachloads of BBC staff north, but there was psephological method to the madness. We were in Stoke-on-Trent Central, one of the red wall seats that changed hands from Labour to the Conservatives in 2019. Boris had led the charge then. Now another lucky general was required. Should it be Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss?

Earlier, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries tried to wound rich boy Rishi by contrasting his bespoke suits and Prada loafers with Liz’s earrings, “circa £4.50″ from Claire’s Accessories.

In the event, Ms Truss wore gold hoops with a Tory blue dress. No pussy-bow blouse tonight for her, or Rishi, which is a shame as he has the neck for one.

Mr Sunak began prime ministerially by paying tribute to the late Lord David Trimble, as did Ms Truss. This was more like the tone required. Pity it lasted all of nine seconds before class war erupted.

With Ms Truss way ahead in the polls one might have thought she would have relaxed a little, kicked those metaphorical heels off. Instead she made a cat on a hot tin roof look like Bagpuss. And. Yes. Since. You. Ask. Her. Delivery. Was. A. Touch. Wooden. She even managed to gesticulate woodenly, sawing away with her hands as she told us of her roots in Paisley and Leeds and other far away lands in the north.

Mr Sunak had a lot of ground to make up. For some reason party members found him untrustworthy. Don’t they remember it was Sajid Javid who wielded the knife first? Rishi had waited a whole nine minutes before doing the same.

He began confidently, built up to aggressive and stayed there. He was the smartest guy in the room and man he was going to let everyone know it. At times his opponent struggled to be heard as he went off on another bout of mansplaining. Not a winning look with the ladies, Rishi.

The hour flew by with Chris Mason and Faisal Islam, BBC political and economic editors respectively, sitting in dictionary corner throwing in their tuppenceworth. That was a positive addition to the format, though they missed a trick in not ending the debate by tipping a bucket of gunge over the loser’s head.Who did win? It was close. If only they could do it all again. They can, on TalkTV tonight, 6pm. You would be mad as Nad to catch it.

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