UK leadership live debate ends after presenter faints on air

By Orowo Victoria Ojieh with agency report

A live debate between the two candidates competing to succeed Boris Johnson as UK British prime minister came to a dramatic end on Tuesday when the presenter fainted.

The debate between former finance minister Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on media tycoon Rupert Murdoch’s new “TalkTV” channel, was suddenly interrupted.

The incident happened about half an hour into the hour-long debate, as Truss and Sunak sparred over taxes, how to help families struggling with the soaring cost of living and the best way to fund the National Health Service (NHS).

Truss had stopped speaking mid-sentence with a shocked look on her face as the sound of crashing in front of her engulfed the broadcast.

“Oh my God!” a stunned Truss exclaimed, before leaving her podium to walk towards where the debate moderator, TalkTV’s political editor Kate McCann, had been standing off camera.

Talk TV said the presenter, Kate McCann, had fainted.

“Although she is fine, the medical advice was that we shouldn’t continue with the debate. We apologise to our viewers and listeners,” Talk TV said on Twitter.

Another TalkTV host, Ian Collins, who began hosting from the channel’s studio after a short delay, said the candidates were continuing with a question-and-answer session off camera with the small audience present at the debate.

The leadership candidates Truss and Sunak tweeted that they were
relieved to hear McCann was fine.

“Relieved to hear @KateEMcCann is fine. Really sorry that such a good debate had to end,” Truss said.

Sunak also took to Twitter to call it “good news” that the moderator was said to be on the mend.

“It was a great debate and I look forward to getting grilled by you again shortly!” he added.

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The debate was the second within 24 hours for Sunak and Truss, after the leadership candidates face-off on Monday night in a feisty BBC debate.

The duo are battling to succeed Johnson, who quit as leader of the governing Conservative Party on July 7 after months of ethics scandals triggered a mass resignation of ministers from his government.

The party’s approximately 200,000 members are set to vote next month and the winner to replace Johnson will be announced on September 5.

The debate was sponsored by The Sun tabloid and Talk TV, both owned by Rupert Murdoch. McCann, Talk TV’s political editor, had been scheduled to co-host alongside The Sun’s Harry Cole, but he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier on Tuesday.

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