Truss-Sunak debate suspended early after host faints

27 July 2022

2:50 AM

27 July 2022

2:50 AM

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss’s second head-to-head debate was suspended after half an hour due to presenter Kate McCann fainting. TalkTV has confirmed she is OK. Refresh this page for further developments.

7.30 p.m. – Sunak and Truss go home

Katy Balls writes… The debate is over. The guests are going home. Rishi Sunak outlasted Liz Truss mingling by about ten minutes, but to be fair to the Foreign Secretary it is her birthday.

7.08 p.m. – Debate presenter fainted

TalkTV statement: ‘Kate McCann fainted on air tonight and although she is fine, the medical advice was that we shouldn’t continue with the debate. We apologise to our viewers and listeners.’

6.56 p.m. – Sunak and Truss mingle with the audience

Katy Balls writes… I’m at the TalkTV debate which has been put on pause following a medical incident. Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are using the break to mingle with the audience members. So far Truss is winning on the number of selfie requests though Sunak has a crowd gathered round for a Q&A. It’s not clear if the debate will restart.

Sunak and Truss now chatting with the audience at the Talk TV debate

— Katy Balls (@katyballs) July 26, 2022

6.55 p.m. – Debate presenter reportedly fainted

Kate Andrews writes… There are reports that tonight’s moderator Kate McCann has fainted. A fellow TalkTV presenter, Julia Hartley-Brewer, has tweeted that McCann is OK, but doesn’t have more details. TalkTV has released a statement saying ‘if we can get back on air we will,’ but for now have pivoted to airing radio commentary.

6.45 – Presenter Kate McCann OK, according to TalkTV presenter

Ok. I’ve been told that @KateEMcCann is ok. That’s all I know.

— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) July 26, 2022

6.44 p.m. – Medical issue, says News UK

James Forsyth writes… News UK saying that it is a medical issue, not a security issue and the candidates are fine.

6.31 p.m. – Debate goes off air

Steerpike writes… What just happened? The camera has gone off air, with the last image being a despairing Liz Truss saying ‘oh my God’ as someone (or something) crushed to the ground. Still another 27 minutes left…

James Forsyth writes… The debate has now gone off air. Liz Truss stopped mid-answer after the sound of something smashing. More as we get it.

What on earth happened then? Hope everyone is ok! #TalkTV #TheSun

— Harry Rutter (@harryjohnrutter) July 26, 2022

6.30 p.m. – Is Rishi pro-business?

Kate Andrews writes… Sunak makes a dig at Liz Truss for wanting to cut taxes for ‘big business’. Oh, how the Overton window has shifted.

6.29 p.m. – Truss and Sunak clash on cost-of-living again

Kate Andrews writes… The debate on tax is calmer than last night, but the language is escalating. Truss and Sunak have both moved from talking about the practicalities of tax hikes and cuts to the morality of tax hikes and cuts. Truss says raising taxes during a cost-of-living crisis isn’t ethical; Sunak says passing today’s borrowing bills onto the next generation raises moral questions too. Nothing new in terms of arguments, but certainly a doubling down on positions.

6.27 p.m. – A change of tack for Sunak

Isabel Hardman writes… Sunak has clearly been chastened by how he came across last night. After the ‘mansplaining’ accusation which was levelled at him for talking over Truss repeatedly, the former chancellor is trying to be as considerate as possible and letting his opponent talk at length. Kate McCann has had to say ‘let’s let Rishi Sunak get an answer in’.

6.25 p.m. – Truss and Sunak clash on NHS funding

Kate Andrews writes… The NHS England waiting list sits at a staggering 6.6 million. It’s forecast to reach over 9 million by March 2024, possibly over ten million in the downside scenario. It’s obvious from the segment about the National Health Service that there is no comforting answer Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak can give here, especially as the NHS remains a no-go zone for discussing reform.

Truss insisted that she’d roll back the National Insurance hike to pay for the Covid backlog, but would still make good on the approximate £12bn extra for Covid catch-up; Sunak accused Truss of wanting the policy but not wanting to pay for it. So back to tax-and-spend. Despite the explosive debates between Truss and Sunak on the topic, it’s a more comfortable area than talking about the failures of the health service.

“Whatever Rishi says now, we did not need to raise National Insurance.”

Liz Truss slams Rishi Sunak’s decision to raise taxes as Chancellor.

📺 Freeview 237, Sky 526, Virgin 627, Freesat 217@trussliz | @RishiSunak | @TheSun | #TheSunShowdown

— TalkTV (@TalkTV) July 26, 2022

6.20 p.m. – Questions move onto meat-eating

James Forsyth writes… The next question is whether people should go vegetarian given the price of meat. Considering both candidates are from rural, farming seats it is hard to imagine either of them embracing this idea.

Isabel Hardman writes… It’s a real shame that Liz Truss didn’t talk about pork markets when asked about the cost of meat.

6.13 p.m. – Sunak and Truss on their NHS plans  

Isabel Hardman writes… Is the NHS broken? That’s the first proper question but we haven’t got a proper answer from either candidate. Sunak says it is recovering from Covid and ‘we also saw what was happening in social care’ before suggesting he has somehow fixed these problems with the health and care levy. Spoiler alert: it hasn’t, particularly not when it comes to social care. If pumping more funds into the health service without doing anything meaningful to fix social care is the solution, then the NHS is going to stay broken. Truss, meanwhile, resorts to ‘fewer layers of management and less central direction’. Which is what every politician has said for the past 40 years, before gripping the health service even tighter from the centre.

James Forsyth writes… Questions from Sun readers are coming in from around the country. The first question is from a man in Birmingham who has cancer: he asks why the NHS is broken. Sunak says the NHS is recovering from Covid and defends his decision to increase National Insurance to put more money into dealing with the backlogs and social care. Truss says she wants less management in the NHS.

Liz Truss says she believes that Sun readers “want us to keep to our manifesto commitment of not raising taxes.”

📺 Freeview 237, Sky 526, Virgin 627, Freesat 217@trussliz | @RishiSunak | @TheSun | #TheSunShowdown

— TalkTV (@TalkTV) July 26, 2022

6.10 p.m. – A strange start

Kate Andrews writes… The TalkTV and Sun newspaper leadership debate tonight is promising to cover some new topics: not least immigration and detailed Brexit discussions. But it’s a bit of an odd start: Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak were told to ask each other a question, any question. But it’s not obvious they knew they would be asked to do this. Truss said she was out of questions for Sunak; Sunak asked what Truss was doing for her birthday (today – she’s a Leo – telling stuff). Both just used the opportunity to do a second opening statement. Truss has had an opportunity to respond to Rishi’s question… about her birthday. We’re ten minutes in.

Isabel Hardman writes… Last night’s fight ended with some faux friendship between Truss and Sunak where they praised one another and said they wanted to see their opponent on their frontbench if they won. This debate has started with the two declining to ask an attacking question, with Sunak pointedly wishing Truss a happy birthday. She looked less than thrilled with his wishes, adding ‘I’ve had a great birthday so far.’ This hour of it may be a slight blip.

6.05 p.m. – More red meat looms

Steerpike writes… TalkTV’s debate starts with an extended puff for the Sun and the importance of its, er, shrinking readership. Editor Victoria Newton says that the cost-of-living, illegal immigration and Brexit are the likely top topics of debate tonight. That’s a good dollop of red meat: more than what was on offer in the Channel 4 and BBC debates when net zero and Claire’s Accessories were on the agenda. Who will prove themselves to be the apex predator in the jungle of Westminster?

6.00 p.m. – Sunak further behind Truss than yesterday

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