Tory leadership contest: Surreal questions amid the hard reality of Brexit

Mark Harper at the launch of his leadership campaign Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mark Harper answered every question journalists could think of

It's day two of the official campaign to be the next prime minister.

Andrea Leadsom cheerily launched her campaign, promising she would never utter the phrase "as a mother" that did for her chances last time.

She did though, unusually, say "never say never" to the idea of another Scottish independence referendum, normally an anathema to Tory candidates.

Expect the SNP to have fun with the idea of another vote - which remember would require the nod from Westminster - and Scottish Conservatives to be nervous.

As promised, the former chief whip Mark Harper was jacket off, sleeves rolled up, answering any question that journalists were willing to put.

That included - because the early stages of this campaign are this surreal - predicting in a fight between a lion and a bear that the lion, patriotically, would win. (yes, you read that right).

He did, though, repeat his assertion that none of the candidates aside from him were being straight about the possibilities for Brexit.

He'll say, as many times as he can and with a fair amount of evidence to back him up, that the odds of the UK leaving on Halloween aren't that high. (Nothing of course is impossible, and plenty of the candidates say they will do everything to make that happen.)

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Andrea Leadsom reflected on mistakes in her campaign three years ago

And as I write, early on Tuesday evening, Rory Stewart - Boris Johnson's fellow Old Etonian who predicts that they will be the final two - is on stage at a comedy venue launching his campaign proper.

And TV presenter Lorraine Kelly was back - this time with a slapdown of the whole lot of the political class, prompting suggestions in the Westminster bubble that maybe she should be allowed to pick the winner, so the country could just get on with its important business.

Outside of SW1, plenty of you might well agree.

But the hard reality bites today too. Labour has just announced that they are leading another cross-party attempt to grab control of the Commons.

If they're successful, they would try to introduce a law to block the UK leaving the EU without a deal in place, and to stop any future prime minister suspending Parliament so that we leave whatever happens - as has been suggested by some of the wannabe leaders.

Right now, Dominic Raab, Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey and, of course, the front runner Boris Johnson, are all suggesting the UK ought to leave at the end of October - Brexit or bust. You can read more about the candidates' different plans here.

Just in case the candidates needed a reminder of what they'll inherit, the politician who wins this race might find that MPs have changed the law to kill off their solution to Brexit before they even call the removal vans to move their stuff to Number 10.

On Tuesday 18 June BBC One will be hosting a live election debate between the Conservative MPs who are still in the race.

If you would like to ask the candidates a question live on air, use the form below. It should be open to all of them, not a specific politician.

If you are reading this page on the BBC News app, you will need to visit the mobile version of the BBC website to submit your question on this topic.