PLEASE, let’s have buzzers. Otherwise next week’s televised debates among Tory leadership contenders may descend into chaos, especially if everyone from Jacob Rees-Mogg to Some Bloke You’ve Never Heard Of somehow scrapes through to remain in the race.

If the broadcasters opt for a quiz-show format then they can all merrily jab away at red buttons, pretending to be poking their biggest rivals in the eye.

The hopefuls will, of course, have a collective responsibility to keep things civil and comprehensible, but if they get told off by their hosts for interrupting or other bad behaviour, expect them to point the finger at someone else and pretend they weren’t actually involved at all.

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The 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers met last night to figure out how to whittle nearly a dozen candidates down to a more manageable selection. The new threshold of 20 nominations has already been met by former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and current trade policy minister Penny Mordaunt, so they will definitely have marked appointments with ITV on Sunday night and Sky News on Monday night in their diaries.

At time of writing there are some 11 MPs in the running, with Rees-Mogg and Priti Patel apparently vying for support to become the “continuity candidate” and hoover up votes from those Tories who are alarmed at the prospect of the total disintegration of the UK being halted for even five minutes. “Continue the chaos!” would certainly make a snappy campaign slogan if ham-fisted attempts to nobble Sunak with smears are successful.

Regardless of how many remain once the nominations have been counted, there will be lots of debating to get through in a limited amount of time, and it would be a shame to fill a big chunk of it with repetition of the same Unionist buzz phrases we’re already thoroughly sick of hearing, mere days into the contest.

Let’s see how Sunday night goes first, but in the name of efficiency and entertainment Sky’s Kay Burley may wish to open Monday’s proceedings in the style of a school headmistress, and treat the party faithful to the singing of a few hymns. I propose When I Survey the Wondrous UK, followed by The Indyref Thou Gavest, Lord, Is Ended and rounding off with an old classic, What A Friend We Had in Boris (if Patel has to deliver this one solo, directly to camera, while Sunak stares at his shoes, then so be it).

Then on to the questions. Family Fortunes seems an appropriate format for such a dysfunctional bunch, who are supposedly all on the same team but have apparently wasted no time compiling “dirty dossiers” on each other. (I wonder if Burley has read all the juicy bits of those. Perhaps she can give us some clues about the contents, along with a few well-timed winks and eyebrow raises).

The classic UK game show was ripped off from an American one called Family Feud, which involved surveying 100 people then asking teams of relatives to guess the most popular answers given to open-ended questions such as “name a breed of dog” or “name something you do in the dark” (as it was a family show, presumably the answers broadcast did not include “sleep with your special advisor” or “stab your former Cabinet colleague in the front”). Of course, for next week’s shows those surveyed would need to be Tory party members, with questions along the lines of “what values matter to you in a leader?” and “what uncosted tax cut do you want to be bribed with?”

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It could be, of course, that some of those 11 have already privately decided to bow out, upon learning that the Labour party have been given a peek into their cupboards and made some hair-raising discoveries. But given all we know about the man currently squatting in Downing Street, you have to wonder what would even constitute a career-limiting secret these days.

Some of the very people these Tories condemn as “woke” might be among the first to defend any politician subjected to “kink-shaming” due to their unconventional sexual habits, and party members may prove to be relaxed about the personal tax arrangements of the people setting levels of taxation for everyone else ... regardless of whether they are standing on a platform of cutting them, or claiming such cuts are based on “comforting fairy tales”.

Relief that Johnson is going may soon be followed by alarm that every one of these chancers is actually serious in their bid, thinking “if he can be Prime Minister, why can’t I?”

If the Tory MPs can’t reach an early consensus on which ones constitute the best of a bad lot, there won’t be enough room for lecterns at the TV debates and they’ll have to squeeze them around a fire pit, like a dramatic night on Love Island ... except with even more simmering resentments and an even stronger desire among the contestants to ruin each other.

Have your popcorn at the ready.