BORIS Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have gone head to head on ITV as the two politicians fight for the keys to Downing Street.
One of the two contenders will succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister.
Johnson hopes to use the occasion to seal his position as the clear frontrunner, with polls giving him an overwhelming lead among party members.
For Mr Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, it potentially offers a final chance to turn around a contest in which he has been the underdog throughout.
There has been frustration in the Hunt camp at the reluctance of his rival to engage in direct debate.
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The contenders have clashed over Mr Johnson’s optimism.
Johnson has said preparation will make a no-deal Brexit “vanishingly inexpensive”.
Hunt used his opening statement in the debate to claim he was the candidate who could have an appeal beyond the Tory party.
“As a tough negotiator, I’ll deliver Brexit but so much more,” he said.
Highlighting his experience as an entrepreneur, the former health secretary and current Foreign Secretary, said: “In poll after poll I am the public’s preferred choice for prime minister because I appeal not just to those who already vote Conservative but those we need to win.
“And to those watching at home I will be your prime minister, whoever you vote for, as I bring together our amazing United Kingdom.”
Johnson used his opening statement to promise he would give the UK its “mojo” back.
He said: “This country faces a momentous choice – we can either continue with the same old, failed, can-kicking approach, destroying trust in politics, sapping business confidence.
“Or else we can change, get back our mojo, restore this country’s reputation around the world and put ourselves on the path to long-term success.”
He vowed to get Brexit done by October 31 and pledged more money for schools, police and promised full-fibre broadband for all.
Mr Johnson said he would be able to take on the “semi-Marxist, wealth and job-destroying lunacy of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party”.