Tory leadership LIVE: 'Huge mess' Warning early general election looms as fresh row erupts

There are only six weeks until Boris Johnson’s replacement will step into Number 10, but the fight between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak is growing increasingly bitter. CNN’s Luke McGee said the party is “so badly divided it could be forced to call an early general election and hope for the best”.

One MP who joined the House of Commons following Margaret Thatcher’s forced resignation said: “I am worried. Back then the people who stabbed her in the back and the people who remained loyal were such a clear dividing line that defined the party for years.

“Things are even more complicated now and I am not sure these two [Sunak and Truss] can bridge those gaps.”

Tonight, the first head-to-head debate between the two candidates, broadcast at 9pm BBC One, is likely to see the divide increase even further.

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