And social media’s debate winner is…Tom Tugendhat! Tory MP makes audience laugh quoting Dumbledore

Channel 4 viewers have crowned Tom Tugendhat the winner of last night’s Tory leadership debate after quoting Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore before mistakenly thanking an NHS worker for given him his two children.

The MP Tonbridge and Malling, 49, impressed as the five remaining leadership hopefuls appeared for a first live television debate on Channel 4 in front of a studio audience.

The candidates were asked questions from members of the audience and host Krishnan Guru-Murthy on a variety of topics including the cost of living crisis and whether outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson is trustworthy.

Opening the debate, host Krishnan Guru-Murthy asked each individual Tory MP why the public should trust each of them.

When given an opportunity to answer, Mr Tugendhat cited a quote from the Hogwarts headmaster. 

He said: ‘It is easy to stand up your enemies, it is harder to stand up to your friends.’

He also praised the NHS for the impact it had on his comrades wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying he was ‘eternally grateful’.

‘You’ve also given me two children’, he said in response to a question on the health service from a woman in the audience, before hastily adding ‘not you personally, of course’.

A snap poll conducted by strategic insight agency Opinium also confirmed Mr Tugendhat as the most impressive performer.

Of more than 1,000 normal voters polled, 36 per cent believed he had ‘performed best’ in the debate. 

The MP Tonbridge and Malling, 49, impressed during Friday evening's first live debate on Channel 4

The MP Tonbridge and Malling, 49, impressed during Friday evening’s first live debate on Channel 4

Krishnan Guru-Murthy hosted the debate with the candidates who are in the running to become the next Prime Minister

Krishnan Guru-Murthy hosted the debate with the candidates who are in the running to become the next Prime Minister

Leadership contender Mr Tugendhat with his wife Anissia Tugendhat arriving at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, on Friday

Leadership contender Mr Tugendhat with his wife Anissia Tugendhat arriving at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, on Friday

Mr Tugendhat also drew applause from the audience as Boris Johnson’s time in office overshadowed the beginning of the debate.

The candidates were asked if the outgoing Prime Minister is an honest man.

Mr Tugendhat, a long-time critic of Mr Johnson, was the only candidate to swiftly reply ‘no’.

He spoke while acknowledging ‘trust in politics has been collapsing, trust in our party has been collapsing’, and added: ‘I’ve been holding a mirror to many of our actions and asking those in our party, those in our leadership positions, to ask themselves “is that what the public really expects?”

‘Are you serving the people of the United Kingdom or are you serving your career? Because that’s the real question tonight. That’s the real question for all of us.’

Asked about Mr Johnson, former Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch was the first to reply, simply answering: ‘Sometimes.’

Ms Mordaunt then added: ‘There have been some really severe issues and I think he has paid a price for that.’

Former Chancellor Mr Sunak, who resignation with ex-Health Secretary Sajid Javid sparked Mr Johnson’s downfall, said there were a ‘number of reasons’ why he had left his role.

Viewers took to social media to praise the Mr Tugendhat, crowning his performance as the most impressive following the live debate.

One said: ‘The farce of this Tory leadership debate is that Tugenhadt is smashing it, yet he will be more unpopular amongst MPs for being brutally honest.’

Another added: ‘Tom Tugendhat is coming across very well. Put together, not engaging in catty arguments. Pains me to say it, but he’s quite likeable.’

A third said: ‘Just watched 90 minutes of paint drying. Tom Tugendhat won that entire debate with a quick shake of the head.’

A fourth tweeted: ‘Tom Tugendhat absolutely destroying the rest of the field this evening. 

‘An honest, admirable man whilst quoting Albus Dumbledore and ridiculing Boris Johnson. And he’s my MP. Excellent viewing.’

Mr Sunak defended his record in No 11, saying: 'I don't think the responsible thing to do right now is launch into some unfunded spree of borrowing and more debt'

Mr Sunak defended his record in No 11, saying: ‘I don’t think the responsible thing to do right now is launch into some unfunded spree of borrowing and more debt’

His comments came after Ms Truss went on the attack towards the former Chancellor during the debate

His comments came after Ms Truss went on the attack towards the former Chancellor during the debate

Ms Mordaunt also faced tough questioning from her rivals over her attitude towards women's rights and transgender people

Ms Mordaunt also faced tough questioning from her rivals over her attitude towards women’s rights and transgender people

Former Equalities Minister Ms Badenoch pictured during the live television debate on Channel 4 on Friday evening

Former Equalities Minister Ms Badenoch pictured during the live television debate on Channel 4 on Friday evening

The former Army officer has suggested military planners could help tackle the backlog because “we are looking to drive leadership and efficiency into processes, we are looking to create order out of what is sometimes a confusing situation”.

He also pointed to his ‘track record of leadership in a final pitch to viewers on why he should be the next Tory leader and Prime Minister.

He told the debate: ‘The country is going through a crisis at home and challenges abroad. What we’re seeing around the world is we’re seeing division and disunity and we can pull people together.

‘What we can do is we can turn this around. Now I have a track record of leadership: I have led on operations and I have led in Parliament and now I would like to lead the United Kingdom.’

It came after viewers had earlier poked fun at his Dumbledore reference and were quick to take to social media to highlight his wizard-related response. 

One viewer said: ‘Who else noticed Tom Tugendhat quoting Álbus Dumbledore? It’s easy to stand up to your enemies, but much harder to stand up to your friends.. 50 house points to Gryffindor! Lol’

Another added: ‘Well who had “Quoting Dumbledore” on the Conservative leadership debate bingo card?’

Mr Sunak pictured as he arrived at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, for the TV debate

Mr Sunak pictured as he arrived at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, for the TV debate

A third said: ‘Didn’t think dumbledore would be a script writer for team #Tugendhat going to be an Interesting #C4LeaderDebate.’

Mr Tugendhat also said that as Prime Minister he would deliver a global ‘energy resilience plan’ so that Britain does not lose out by reducing ‘dirty coal’ from its industries.

He added: ‘What I’ve spoken about is things like carbon offshore pricing, to make sure that what we don’t do is cut carbon emissions here in the UK and see jobs go to China.

‘What we don’t want to see is the punishment of British workers for higher standards, steel industries closing down because other people use dirty coal and we’re not allowed to. 

‘What we need to make sure is that we set rules, we don’t allow others to undercut them with cheaper prices.

‘What we need to make sure is that we maintain standards everywhere, because around the world the carbon is going into the same atmosphere and it’s poisoning the same planet.

‘So, what we need to be making sure is that we are delivering around the world and that’s why I’m talking about an energy resilience plan.’ 

Elsewhere in the debate, Ms Truss, who is languishing in third in the race to replace Boris Johnson, also vowed to reverse a planned increase in corporation tax next year from 19 to 25 per cent – at a cost of £16billion.

Mr Sunak defended his record in No 11, saying: ‘I don’t think the responsible thing to do right now is launch into some unfunded spree of borrowing and more debt, that will just make inflation worse, it will make the problem longer.’

Ms Truss pinned the blame on the Bank of England, saying ‘we have inflation because of our monetary policy, that we haven’t been tough enough on the monetary supply, that’s the way that I would address that issue’.

But the former chancellor told her: ‘Borrowing your way out of inflation isn’t a plan, it’s a fairytale.’

Ms Truss responded: ‘I think it is wrong to put taxes up.’

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