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British Tory leadership debate cancelled after presenter faints live on air

British Tory leadership debate cancelled after presenter faints live on air

Updated 1 hour ago

THE SECOND TV debate between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss was dramatically halted and subsequently cancelled after host Kate McCann fainted live on air.

As Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss were clashing once again over taxes, NHS funding and the economy in their second head-to-head televised debate, a loud crash interrupted the two Tory rivals.

The Foreign Secretary looked visibly worried and could be heard saying “oh my god”, as she walked off the stage.

TalkTV issued a statement following the incident, confirming that McCann fainted.

“Kate McCann fainted on air tonight, and although she is fine, the medical advice was that we shouldn’t continue with the debate,” TalkTV said.

“We apologise to our viewers and listeners.”

Both Sunak and Truss have wished McCann well following the incident.

Before the debate was taken off air, the two Tory rivals locked horns once again as they fought for the support of their party members, with taxes and the economy causing the most acrimony.

Truss said it was “morally wrong” to raise taxes during a cost-of-living crisis, but Sunak quickly shot back, saying it was “morally wrong” to heap more debt on future generations.

The Foreign Secretary said: “What has happened is that the tax has been raised on families through national insurance so that they are having to pay more money to the Treasury.

“I do think it is morally wrong at this moment when families are struggling to pay for food that we have put up taxes on ordinary people when we said we wouldn’t in our manifesto and when we didn’t need to do so.”

Interjecting, Sunak said: “What’s morally wrong is asking our children and grandchildren to pick up the tab for the bills that we are not prepared to meet.”

The two also clashed over the rise in national insurance, brought in to help pay for the NHS and social care.

The former chancellor described himself as “brave” for introducing the £12 billion tax increase to pay for health social care, telling the debate: “I made sure we got the NHS the funding it needed to help work through the backlogs, get everyone the care they needed and do that as quickly as possible.

It wasn’t an easy thing for me to do, I got a lot of criticism for it, but I believe it was the right thing to do as I don’t think we can have an NHS which is ultimately the country’s number one public service priority that is underfunded and not able to deliver the care it needs.

“And that’s why I think you can be reassured the NHS is safe in my hands because I’ve taken what was a brave decision to get it the support it needed.”

On the other hand, Truss said she would scrap the national insurance rise and use general taxation to fund the NHS.

She said: “I am committed to the extra money that was announced for the NHS. It is needed to deal with the backlog, and I would fund that money out of general taxation.

“Under my plans, we will still be able to start paying the debt down within three years, so it is affordable, and the fact is whatever Rishi says now, we didn’t need to raise national insurance in order to pay, we did have that money available in the budget, it was a choice to break our manifesto commitment and raise national insurance.

“I think it was the wrong choice to make, I spoke out against it at the time in Cabinet, I still remain opposed to it, and I’d reverse that rise.”

On “how we fund things” and “the public services that we rely on”, Sunak said it was “entirely reasonable” to ask the largest companies to pay “a bit more” tax because they received taxpayer-funded support during the pandemic.

However, Truss, who would scrap the scheduled 19p to 25p increase in corporation tax, said: “I am not talking about cutting corporation tax, I’m talking about not raising corporation tax.

Under Rishi’s plan we will end up raising corporation tax to the same level it is in France, more than 10 percentage points higher than it is in Ireland.

Sunak was also asked if he had the “guts to stand up to (Vladimir) Putin” by Andrew from London, a coordinator for a logistics company at Heathrow Airport.

The former chancellor replied: “Yes, Andrew, is the quick answer and the reason you can believe me is because as chancellor I did a couple of things that demonstrates that strength, a year and a half ago I made sure that our armed forces got the largest uplift in funding that they’ve had since the end of the Cold War to make sure that we’re protected against threats, like Putin.

“As chancellor I also worked with all my finance ministers around the world to put in place a sanctions package, the likes of which we had never seen to try and tighten the grip on Putin’s war machine, stop funding going to him, and it does require toughness to stand up to him, and it is going to require all of us to go through some difficult times.”

With reporting from Niall O’Connor

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