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Conservative leadership contest: Tom Tugendhat in profile

The word “Dumbledore” trended on Twitter after the former military officer quoted JK Rowling’s character on being asked by an audience member: “Why should the public trust you?” Mr Tugendhat, 49, echoed Dumbledore’s sentiment when he told the televised debate: “It’s easy to stand up to your enemies – it’s sometimes harder to stand up to your friends.”

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.”

Twitter users were quick to notice the similarity to Dumbledore’s famous quote, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends”, before he awarded Neville Longbottom with 10 points for Gryffindor in Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone.


Tom Tugendhat alongside Tory leadership rival Liz Truss (Image: CHANNEL4)

Richard Harris in the role of Professor Dumbledore

Richard Harris in the role of Professor Dumbledore (Image: AFP via Getty)

One user of the platform said: “Is Tom Tugendhat a Harry Potter fan?”

Another chimed in: “Don’t think any of us expected Tom Tugendhat to be straight out of the gate with a direct quote from Dumbledore.”

Mr Tugendhat joined fellow Tory leadership rivals Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss at the debate on Friday, hosted by Krishan Guru-Murthy.

He pointed to his “track record of leadership” in his pitch to become Conservative Party leader and prime minister.


Conservative party leadership contender Kemi Badenoch

Conservative party leadership contender Kemi Badenoch (Image: PA)

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak before the debate (Image: PA)

Mr Tugendhat 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.”

Ms Badenoch said during the debate the outgoing Government rewarded loyalty to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, rather than talent.

She explained how she would lead as PM, saying: “I would change the way that we run Government. I would appoint people because they were talented, not because they were loyal.”

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PMs with the shortest time in office (Image: Express)

When asked whether this meant she believes the Government has rewarded loyalty rather than talent, she said: “I think loyalty was prized more.

“Loyalty is a very important thing in politics – you can’t have people that you can’t trust around you- but I think sometimes there wasn’t enough trust of colleagues who had good criticisms which were not listened to.”

Responding to the same criticism of Government, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she was “not a cliquey person” and believed in a system of “meritocracy”.

She told viewers: “I’m not a cliquey person, I don’t just hang around with a group of friends. I believe in meritocracy, I believe in promoting the best people to the job, and I believe in being very very clear about what we’re planning to do, and then delivering it and doing it.

“I think it’s only by doing things – only by walking the walk, not talking the talk – that we restore trust.”

Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss

Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss during the debate (Image: PA)

Former chancellor Rishi Sunak defended his record in No 11 as he attacked rivals Ms Truss and Ms Mordaunt over their plans for tax cuts.

Stressing the need to grip inflation, he told the debate: “We cannot make it worse, inflation is the enemy that makes everyone poorer. It erodes your savings, it erodes your living standards, it means that those of you who have mortgages will see your interest rates go up higher and higher.

“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.”

Mr Sunak told her: “Borrowing your way out of inflation isn’t a plan, it’s a fairytale.” To which Ms Truss responded: “I think it is wrong to put taxes up.”

In a wide-ranging debate, Ms Mordaunt told viewere the NHS needed widespread reform.

She said health funding should not have conditions on how it can be spent.

Ms Mordaunt said: “We should stop as a Government putting caveats on what healthcare professionals can use that funding for, what we want them to do is treat more patients.”

But she added that of the “top 180 innovations” that were improving care around the world, none were being used in the NHS.