One of the contenders to become Britain's next prime minister has had her leadership speech interrupted by a protester who stormed the lectern shouting 'you are fake news!'
Esther McVey was speaking in central London on Monday morning when the heckler ran to the podium just as she had taken her seat.
'Excuse me, you are all fake news and these people are fake Conservatives,' he angrily yelled as several people attempted to lead him away.
The man had described himself as a 'paid-up member' of the Tory Party and was reportedly 'angry that MPs haven't delivered Brexit.'
Ms McVey had earlier told the group she wanted to deliver Brexit to unit her party.
'I want to stand for leader of the greatest political party even, the Conservative Party,' she said.
'My clear agenda is to deliver Brexit on the 31st of October and then we must unite the country, and then unite our party too.'
Ms McVey's speech came as nominations in the leadership contest edged closer to closing on Monday.
The Brexit-dominated race to become Britain's next prime minister will be decided by lawmakers and members of the governing Conservative Party.
With a 5pm (2am AEST) deadline to submit nomination papers, almost a dozen contenders are already battling it out over tax policy, past drug use — and, of course, Britain's stalled departure from the European Union.
The winner will face the challenge of breaking Britain's impasse over Brexit, an issue that has bedevilled politicians for three years and ultimately defeated outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May.
Mrs May stepped down on Friday as Conservative leader after failing to secure Parliament's backing for her EU withdrawal deal. She will remain caretaker prime minister until the party picks its new leader, a process expected to take until late July.
Eleven candidates have declared they are running, including former Cabinet minister Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Ms McVey.
For all of them, the key issue is Brexit. The Conservatives have been hammered in recent European and local elections as voters punish the party for failing to leave the 28-nation EU.
'Our failure to deliver Brexit has put our country and party in grave peril,' Mr Hunt said as he officially launched his campaign on Monday.
'Without Brexit there will be no Conservative government and maybe no Conservative Party.'
The candidates divide into those, including Mr Hunt, who say they will prioritise finding a divorce deal that's acceptable both to the EU and to Parliament, and hard-core Brexit backers such as Mr Johnson who say the UK must leave on the scheduled date of October 31 — with or without a deal.
Mr Gove, one of the front-runners, is trying to limit fallout from his admission of long-ago cocaine use, which has brought allegations that the former justice secretary — who oversaw a system that sends drug users to prison — is a hypocrite.
The other contenders have also confessed to past use of drugs, in most cases marijuana.
The contest's winner will be chosen in a two-stage process. First, the 313 Conservative lawmakers will vote in a series of rounds starting on Thursday, with the worst performers dropping out until only two candidates remain. The final two will be put to a postal vote among the 160,000 Conservative Party members in the country.
The favourite on betting markets is Mrs Johnson, a former foreign secretary and London Mayor, with an instantly recognisable mop of blond hair and a knack for entertaining the public.
He says he will take Britain out of the bloc without a deal if necessary, and on Monday promised a tax cut for millions of middle- and high-income Britons.
Unlike the other candidates, Mr Johnson hasn't given television interviews or held any public events, as his campaign team tries to avoid gaffes that could spoil his front-runner status.
Several candidates appeared to take aim at Mr Johnson in comments Monday.
'We won't deliver Brexit with bluff and bluster,' former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said, who is competing with Mr Johnson for the support of hardcore Brexiteers.
Mr Hunt said the party needed a 'serious leader.'
'We need tough negotiation, not empty rhetoric,' he said.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019