But the star of the night was arguably pro-E.U. Ruth Davidson, a Scottish politician whose passionate performance alongside five others on a BBC debate panel has raised eyebrows.
“Her late arrival has injected some much-needed mojo into the pro-EU cause,” wrote Sebastian Payne in the Financial Times.
Until now, Davidson has not been a familiar face in the national campaign for Britain to remain, but it wasn’t long into the BBC debate when her name was dominating social media.
Davidson is the leader of the Scottish Conservative Party and a member of the Scottish Parliament. She is not a member of Parliament in Westminster, meaning she isn't in a position to stand for leadership of the U.K.'s Conservative Party should a vacancy arise. But that didn’t stop many from wishing otherwise.
Davidson’s fellow Conservative colleagues were also impressed by her performance.
She even turned heads of non-Conservative voters:
Some people likened her to Tom Cruise’s character in “A Few Good Men” after she stressed the British public “deserve the truth.” You can watch the segment here:
Funny, plain-speaking and openly gay, Davidson is a well-known political figure in Scotland. The Conservative Party has spent decades in the political wilderness in Scotland, but under her leadership, the party saw its best-ever performance in the Scottish Parliament in elections last month. The Scottish National Party is by far the largest party in Scotland, but the Conservative Party is now the second largest.
Those who have watched her rapid rise in Scotland were not surprised by her performance last night:
During the nationally televised debate, Davidson repeatedly traded jabs with Brexit-backing Boris Johnson, a British Conservative who also gave a solid performance. Johnson, the former mayor of London, was loudly cheered when he said that Thursday could be Britain’s “Independence Day.” Some in the 6,000-strong audience at Wembley Stadium in London gave him a standing ovation.
To be sure, it was a good night for both camps, with each side getting their points across.
It’s unclear if any of the debaters nudged undecided voters in a race that’s too close to call, but one fact remains: Ruth Davidson now has a legion of new admirers.