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Tory leadership contest enters Big Beast Day

The Home Secretary will need to prove how she can connect to voters. Credit: PA

Theresa May will make her pitch for the top job in politics today.

And she will do so just 90 minutes before the long time favourite, Boris Johnson, launches his bid for the vacancy.

The Tory leadership contest enters Big Beast Day.

So will it now simply be a case of Leave v Remain, blond bombshell v kitten heels, man of the people v Ice Queen, Eton v grammar school?

It is, for sure, a contest between two very ambitious politicians.

And today they both have to confront their weaknesses.

For Boris, the task in hand is to show he's a statesman, he can be a politician on the world stage, he can - as is often asked - be trusted to have his finger on the nuclear button.

Boris Johnson will have to connect with Tory MPs in the Commons who will decide if he is one of the final two candidates. Credit: PA

And he needs to show that his connection with voters also extends to the Tory MPs in the Commons who will decide if he is one of the final two candidates who will go through to the next round.

MPs often accuse Mr Johnson of spending too little time on colleagues and too much time on himself.

For Theresa May, there is the opposite problem: we know she's a serious, sober politician but where is her human side? Where is the proof of that emotional connection with voters that has been missing during her time as Home Secretary?

Leaders of parties - and of countries - need to have more skills than just a detailed knowledge of policy.

And Mrs May must also answer the questions about immigration: net migration has soared during her time in charge at the Home Office.

She will counter those weaknesses in her speech. She will be introduced by an MP who campaigned for the opposing Leave side. And her rarely-seen husband Philip will be there to support her.

Liam Fox will also join the contenders today as Stephen Crabb did yesterday.

And then it's over the 330 Tory MPs to do the first sift and get the numbers down to just two - one of whom will, on September 9, be the UK's next Prime Minister.

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