Boris Johnson promised to give the UK its mojo back, while Jeremy Hunt insisted he could win over non-Tories as the two contenders to be the next prime minister clashed on TV.
In a head-to-head clash the two rivals for the Tory leadership set out their plans for Brexit and the future of the country.
Opening the ITV debate, campaign frontrunner Boris Johnson said he was the right person to “unleash on this project”, to deliver Brexit and “unite this country”.
But with an eye on the next general election, Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt said he would be able to reach beyond Tory voters and secure the support of the wider country.
The next prime minister will be chosen by Tory members, with the result announced on July 23.
Mr Johnson 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.”
The candidates clash as Jeremy Hunt says he is far more likely to take Britain out of the EU by October 31st and asks Boris Johnson whether he will resign if he fails to do so #ITVdebatepic.twitter.com/a1DEhWgZrv
— ITV News (@itvnews) July 9, 2019
He vowed to get Brexit done by October 31, pledged more money for schools and 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”.
Mr Hunt promised to “deliver Brexit but so much more” if he won the keys to Number 10.
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.”