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Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have joined thousands in sending well wishes to TalkTV political editor Kate McCann after the Tory leadership TV debate was dramatically interrupted when the presenter fainted off camera.
The showdown between the Foreign Secretary and ex-chancellor was taken off air after around 30 minutes and subsequently cancelled on the advice of medical experts present at the studio in Ealing, west London.
Miss McCann, TalkTV’s political editor and host for the evening after The Sun’s Harry Cole pulled out with Covid, was inundated by messages from well-wishers on social media and was said to be ‘fine’ after the incident.
The dramatic moment happened as Ms Truss was answering a question around half-an-hour into the TalkTV/The Sun event.
A loud noise caused the clearly worried Foreign Secretary to hold her face in shock as she exclaimed: ‘Oh my God!’. Ms Truss was then seen leaving her podium and walking towards where Miss McCann had been standing.
The broadcast feed was swiftly cut, with viewers shown the message: ‘We’re sorry for the disruption to this programme. We’re working hard to fix the issue and will return to normal programming soon.’
There was a long pause in the broadcast while viewers wondered what had happened in the studio, before a ‘medical issue’ was cited as being the cause of the disturbance.
Confirming the rest of the debate would no longer go ahead, TalkTV later said in a 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.’
Both Tory leadership candidates raised the prospect of resuming their debate on TalkTV at a later date.
Posting to Miss McCann on Twitter, Mr Sunak wrote: ‘Good news that you’re already recovering. It was a great debate and I look forward to getting grilled by you again shortly!’
Ms Truss later tweeted: ‘Relieved to hear @KateEMcCann is fine. Really sorry that such a good debate had to end. Look forward to catching up with Kate and the rest of the @TheSun @TalkTV team again soon.’
The ex-chancellor and the Foreign Secretary were seen chatting with audience members in the studio while the incident was dealt with and the broadcast taken off air.
A worried Liz Truss reacts as a large crash was heard in the TalkTV studio during her live debate with Rishi Sunak
The loud noise caused the Foreign Secretary to hold her face in shock as she exclaimed: ‘Oh my God!’
The Foreign Secretary is pictured leaving TalkTV’s Ealing studios in West London following Tuesday’s shortened televised debate
Conservative PM hopeful Rishi Sunak is seen clutching a small bag as he leaves TalkTV’s Ealing studio on Tuesday
Prior to the dramatic interruption to the televised debate, Mr Sunak and Ms Truss had put aside the blue-on-blue attacks as they faced each other on live TV for a second time in two days
Kate McCann, who was inundated by messages from well-wishers on social media, was said to be ‘fine’ after the incident
Miss McCann, who is TalkTV’s political editor and who formerly worked at Sky News, was presenting the debate alone after Harry Cole, the political editor of The Sun, pulled out of co-hosting the event earlier today after testing positive for Covid
The broadcast feed was swifly cut, with viewers shown the message: ‘We’re sorry for the disruption to this programme. We’re working hard to fix the issue and will return to normal programming soon.’
Many on social media this evening sent their best wishes and praise to Miss McCann, who is TalkTV’s political editor and who formerly worked at Sky News.
She was presenting the Tory leadership debate alone after Harry Cole, the political editor of The Sun, pulled out of co-hosting the event earlier today after testing positive for Covid.
Mr Cole posted on Twitter that Miss McCann was ‘absolutely bossing it’, adding he was ‘very proud of my friend’.
Tory MP Angela Richardson, a supporter of Mr Sunak, posted on Twitter: ‘Just want to say top marks to @KateEMcCann for moderating the first of the leadership debates where there was space to hear more detail rather than just the top line stuff.
‘It didn’t feel as rushed. A brilliant job and I hope she feels better soon.’
Andrew Bowie, another of Mr Sunak’s backers, said: ‘Very relieved to hear the brilliant @KateEMcCann is doing fine. She was, as ever, doing a brilliant job tonight moderating the debate. One of the best in the business.’
Simon Clarke, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and a Ms Truss ally, hailed Miss McCann as a ‘lovely person and a great presenter’, adding: ‘I hope she makes a very quick recovery.’
Foreign Office minister Amanda Milling praised Miss McCann for ‘doing a brilliant job’, adding: ‘Get well soon!’
Fellow TalkTV presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer tweeted: ‘So bloody relieved that @KateEMcCann is ok.
‘I think we can all agree that she was doing a bloody brilliant job hosting the Tory leaders’ debate on @TalkTV.
‘We learned more about @RishiSunak and @trussliz policies in those 20 minutes than in the BBC’s full hour!’
Both Tory leadership candidates raised the prospect of resuming their debate on TalkTV at a later date
Prior to the dramatic interruption, Mr Sunak and Ms Truss had put aside the blue-on-blue attacks as they faced each other on live TV for a second time in two days.
In calmer exchanges than last night’s bitter BBC clash, the two Tory leadership contenders faced questions on the NHS and cost-of-living crisis this evening.
Mr Sunak began the event by offering Ms Truss his best wishes as the Foreign Secretary celebrates her 47th birthday.
The ex-chancellor also steered clear of interrupting Ms Truss – as he did frequently during the BBC event and which drew accusations of ‘mansplaining’.
As they were quizzed by a Sun reader on the NHS, Mr Sunak admitted he was ‘getting a lot of flak’ for his decision to raise National Insurance contributions while he was in the Treasury.
But he defended the tax hike, which he branded an ‘NHS levy’, as a means of pumping more cash into the health service after the Covid crisis.
Mr Sunak said: ‘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.
‘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.’
Ms Truss committed to the extra £39billion being put into the NHS and social care, but said there was not a need to raise National Insurance in order to fund it as she stressed the money could be found from ‘general taxation’.
‘It was a choice to break our manifesto commitment,’ she said, as she noted the Tories’ pre-election promise not to hike income tax, national insurance or VAT.
‘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.’
The Foreign Secretary vowed to ‘put money back in people’s pockets from day one’ in Number 10.
She also claimed it was ‘morally wrong’ to raise taxes during the cost-of-living crisis in an attack on Mr Sunak’s policies.
But Mr Sunak shot back, saying it was ‘morally wrong’ to heap more debt on future generations.
‘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 ex-chancellor said.
Ahead of an another expected rise in fuel bills this winter amid the energy crisis, both Mr Sunak and Ms Truss said they would support fracking in Britain if local communities supported it.
The Tory leadership hopefuls – who are both vying to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister – were facing each other in a TalkTV/The Sun event
The Foreign Secretary and ex-Chancellor were going head-to-head for a second time in two days
Ahead of tonight’s debate, the Foreign Secretary spent the day campaigning in Sussex, while Mr Sunak was in Stanmore, north London.
Ms Truss refused to enter a fresh slanging match with Mr Sunak as she quizzed about the ex-chancellor’s ‘mansplaining’ during last night’s brutal TV debate on the BBC.
The pair had been urged to tone down their brutal blue-on-blue attacks on each other as they prepared to go toe-to-toe on live television for a second time.
The Foreign Secretary vowed not ‘to criticise the other candidate in this race’ as both her camp and Mr Sunak’s reflected on the fall-out from their first head-to-head clash.
‘I’m not going to criticise the other candidate in this race,’ she told Sky News.
‘I am putting forward a positive case about what we need to change in Britain to unleash the potential of people across this country.’
But Ms Truss – although declining to engage in personal barbs – claimed Mr Sunak’s plans for the economy would be a ‘disaster’ for homeowners, businesses and workers.
She was asked about the new IMF world economic update, which was viewed as a boost for Mr Sunak’s claim that not cutting taxes immediately and keeping spending down is the right path.
Ms Truss added: ‘Let’s be clear, his plan is to raise taxes. He is planning to raise taxes on corporations, putting our taxes up to the same level as France.
‘That is going to put off people who want to invest in Britain. And I know there are masses of opportunities right across the country.
‘Less investment will mean fewer jobs, fewer opportunities, lower wages and lower productivity in the future. So it’s cutting off our nose to spite our face.’
Ms Truss spoke to Conservative Party members at an event at Fontwell Park racecourse, West Sussex, before tonight’s debate
The Foreign Secretary, who is celebrating her 47th birthday today, refused to enter a fresh slanging match with Rishi Sunak as she quizzed about the ex-chancellor’s ‘mansplaining’
Mr Sunak was campaigning in Stanmore, north London ahead of the TalkTV/The Sun head-to-head event with Ms Truss
A new IMF world economic update was viewed as a boost for Mr Sunak’s claim that not cutting taxes immediately and keeping spending down is the right path
The Foreign Secretary quoted the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on the UK’s economic policy.
She said the body had branded Britain’s approach ‘contractionary’, adding: ‘And what that means is it will lead to a recession. A recession would be a disaster.
‘It would be a disaster for people who are homeowners. It would be a disaster for people who go out to work. It would be a disaster for people who run businesses.
‘That is why I want to keep taxes low, attract the investment, get the growth. That’s the best way to pay down our debt.’
Mr Sunak has claimed there is ‘nothing Conservative’ about Ms Truss’s approach to cutting taxes and pumping up borrowing.
After last night’s BBC debate, a YouGov snap poll of 507 Conservative Party members found Ms Truss was seen as having performed better, with 50 per cent saying so to Mr Sunak’s 39 per cent.
Similarly, eight in ten (78 per cent) Tory members who watched the BBC debate said that Ms Truss performed well, with two-thirds (65 per cent) saying this of Mr Sunak.