RISHI Sunak thinks his biggest weakness is working too hard, while Liz Truss says hers is being too enthusiastic.

Those statements came as the five candidates in the running to replace Boris Johnson at the head of the Conservative Party gave their pitches to the membership at an online hustings.

Organised by ConservativeHome, the event saw Sunak, Truss, Penny Mordaunt, Kemi Badenoch, and Tom Tugendhat argue why they should become the next UK prime minister.

It came just hours before the first television debate between the five candidates, which will be shown on Channel 4 on Friday evening.

In a light-hearted final question to the hopefuls, ConservativeHome editor Paul Goodman (below) asked what they all thought of as their biggest weakness.

The National:

Sunak suggested that hard work and perfectionism were his biggest downfalls, despite a glaring spelling error in the campaign messaging over his shoulder.

Truss pointed to enthusiasm, while Badenoch said that her sense of humour could be her biggest weakness. Tugendhat suggested that he liked talking about the army too much, while Mordaunt said it could be her cats – before suggesting she had previously not been good at delegating.

Opening the hustings, Goodman gave each of the hopefuls around three minutes to pitch to the membership.

Truss, who spoke first, implied she was filling the role of the continuity candidate. She repeated rhetoric heard from the interim prime minister such as pledges to “level up”, and said she would stand firm against Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

The foreign secretary is said to have the private backing of Johnson, who has reportedly urged MPs to back “anyone but” Sunak.

The National:

Tugendhat (above) made an openly patriotic pitch, harking back to popular Tory leaders such as Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill while simultaneously claiming to represent a “clean start”.

Badenoch focused on the need to beat Keir Starmer’s Labour at the next General Election, claiming she had the credentials to do so having already beaten six other Tory MPs to still be in at this point in the leadership race.

Mordaunt and Sunak, considered the two favourites to enter No 10, spoke last.

Mordaunt said that she would not make any decisions relating to tax cuts – an issue which has loomed large in the leadership race – until “a fiscal event this autumn”.

She said the UK’s ambitions should “not be limited by whatever is in the Treasury’s coffers”, opening her pitch with a focus on the cost of living crisis and “real quality of life issues”.

Sunak focused more on the next General Election, claiming that was a “real” risk of a Labour government propped up by votes from LibDems and SNP MPs.

He also repeated claims that he would manage the economy like Thatcher, a pitch which did not go down well with people in Scotland or the north of England.

Asked about how they might restore public trust in the Tory Party which was so damaged by Johnson’s time in government, Badenoch and Sunak took what seemed to be coded swipes at the interim prime minister.

The former chancellor said that politicians should not be promising things they cannot deliver, while Badenoch (below) said that leaders should stick to manifesto promises.

The National:

Johnson’s government U-turned on a raft of manifesto pledges including the triple-lock on pensions, the international aid budget, and the National Insurance tax increase.

Mordaunt’s response to the question of trust could also have been read as a swipe at “Team Boris”, which seems to have thrown its weight behind Truss.

The foreign secretary’s allies have denied involvement in a “black ops” campaign against Mordaunt, who has accused rivals of seeking to prevent her making the final two.

If the Portsmouth North MP does make it to the final vote of Tory members, she is expected to win the keys to No 10.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson told to hand over piles of partygate evidence to investigating MPs

Asked how she would restore trust in government, Mordaunt said there should not be any mudslinging during the campaign as the Conservatives would need to present a united front after a new leader had been chosen.

Channel 4 said all five candidates have confirmed they will take part in its debate on Friday night, with further televised clashes set for Sunday and Tuesday.

The next round of voting is due on Monday, with subsequent rounds if required until there are just two candidates, who will then battle it out over the summer to win the support of Conservative members.

Their choice of the next prime minister will be announced on September 5.

Johnson will then formally tender his resignation to the Queen to make way for his successor the following day.