Tory leadership: Rory Stewart has gone and he's taken the spark with him

If you thought the Tory leadership contest had been a bit dull so far, brace yourself for another level of Brexit-themed boredom.

The Tory leadership candidates take part in a BBC debate. Credit: PA

The contest’s only interesting candidate, Rory Stewart, has been ousted after coming in fifth in the latest round of voting.

And as he departs he takes with him a wealth of eccentricities - his unscripted interactions with slightly bewildered strangers in parks, his Corbyn-esque public debates, his dishevelled appearance and his mysterious former career, in which he definitely was NOT a spy.

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But maybe the most important of his attributes was his ability to unsettle the frontrunner Boris Johnson, with his combative stance on Brexit and his pointed focus on restoring trust and honesty in politics.

Without Stewart gone, the contest now looks set to become, not a genuine battle for Number 10, but a prolonged attempt by the others to put on a good show in public as they work behind the scenes to secure a place in Johnson’s Cabinet.

Tomorrow will see the field narrow again, as Tory MPs choose their final two and in the following weeks we can expect hustings between the remaining pair as they turn their attention to members.

Barring a miracle, Johnson looks unstoppable and with Stewart no longer around to rustle his feathers it’s going to be a long and lacklustre month.