The Conservative leadership hustings comes to Darlington today, a town where the Tories have recently gained control of the council for the first time in 40 years. The 160,000 party members will receive their ballot papers on Monday, and they have to return them by July 22 with winner probably being announced the next day. Chris Lloyd looks at the two contenders to become our next Prime Minister.

Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt

Age: 52

Educated: Charterhouse and Oxford University

Family: Son of Admiral Sir Nicholas Hunt; distantly related to the Queen and Oswald Moseley. Married to Lucia, who is Chinese (his biggest gaffe is saying that she is “Japanese”), with three children

Background: He spent two years after university in Japan, teaching English and learning Japanese, which he speaks fluently. He describes himself as an “entrepreneur”, because he set up three businesses which failed – including one exporting marmalade to Japan – before starting a successful IT PR agency. He co-founded HotCourses, which is a directory of overseas study opportunities. He made a reported £14m when it was sold in 2017 making him the richest cabinet member

Political career: Voted sexiest MP in 2007. Joined the Government as culture secretary in 2010, becoming Health Secretary in 2012. Junior doctors went on their first strike in 40 years against his imposition of new contracts, but bludgeoned Theresa May into promising a £20bn rise in NHS spending by 2024. After five years and 309 days as the longest-serving Health Secretary ever, he was promoted to Foreign Secretary

Brexit: Voted remain, but is a born-again leaver. He said a no-deal exit would be “incredibly challenging economically” in July 2018, but yesterday gave himself until September to negotiate a new deal. If that failed, he would introduce an emergency no-deal budget to leave on October 31

Powerhouse potential: Would have a Northern Powerhouse minister in the Cabinet. Committed to HS2 and HS3

Notable backers: William Hague, the former MP for Richmond

Pros: He is widely regarded as likeable, and his campaign is seeking to highlight how he is everything Mr Johnson is not. He is presented as a details man, who is “serious, respected”. He is regarded as stable and safe – one of the reasons he stayed so long at Health was because fellow Tories regarded him as doing a sound job. He has been seen as a moderate, one-nation Conservative, and polling suggests that, by 41 per cent to 29 per cent, he is more popular with non-party members

Cons: Apart from broadcasters regularly turning his surname into a swear word, he has moved his stance to the right on practically everything during the campaign to appeal to party members – how else do you explain yesterday’s strange promise to Telegraph readers to bring back fox-hunting? The Institute for Fiscal Studies says his plans to cut corporation tax and increase spending on defence leave a hole of up to £65bn. Does he have the charisma and the strength of personality, or he is a male version of Mrs “strong and stable” May?

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson

Age: 55

Educated: Eton and Oxford University

Family: Born in New York City, his great-grandfather was Turkish and a Muslim. His father, Stanley, is a personality and former MEP. His second wife is divorcing him and his relationship with his girlfriend Carrie Symonds, who is 23 years younger, is stormy enough for the police to have become involved recently. He has about five or six children

Background: He was sacked from the Times for falsifying a quote, but as the Telegraph’s Brussels correspondent, his vivid reportings helped create a Eurosceptic mood. He is a historian, and his first appearance on Have I Got News For You in 1998 cemented his amusing persona in the public consciousness

Political career: His first Commons career survived insensitive remarks about Hillsborough but was effectively ended when he was sacked as party deputy chairman for lying over an affair. As much on the strength of his personality as his policies, he was elected London mayor in 2008 and 2012, and despite embarrassing zipwire moments, he is regarded as a good figurehead. Back in the Commons, his backing of the leave campaign was vital to its victory, and although his own leadership bid in 2016 was sabotaged by his former ally, Michael Gove, he became Foreign Secretary, a post he held without distinction for two years until he resigned over Brexit

Brexit: He will “do or die” to leave on October 31 although he regards the chances of no-deal exit as “a million-to-one”

Powerhouse potential: He says the Northern Powerhouse is “is a fantastic concept that needs to be filled with more content”. He supports mayor Ben Houchen’s plan for a post-Brexit freeport in the Tees Valley

Notable backers: Rishi Sunak, the current MP for Richmond, plus Middlesbrough South MP Simon Clark, and Mr Houchen – he helicoptered into the mayor’s fundraiser at Wynyard in April

Pros: He is one of very few feelgood politicians – you laugh, either with him or at him. In a world of sensible suits, he is colourful and charismatic, and his supporters believe he would use that strength to bash Nigel Farage, Jeremy Corbyn and the Euromandarins. Although he showed a liberal side when London mayor, the Tory members love his leave credentials, and back him by about 65/35

Cons: Does his success in London outweigh his poor record as Foreign Secretary? The suspicion is that he is slapdash and glib, and so is prone to gaffes which can be deeply insulting. He seems not to have a thought through Brexit plan, his tax breaks will benefit the rich, and with his chaotic private life, he is constantly flirting with embarrassment