UK Tory leadership debate halted after moderator faints

By: AFP
Published: 11:57 PM, 26 Jul, 2022
UK Tory leadership debate halted after moderator faints
Caption: The latest televised debate between the two Conservative contenders vying to be Britain's next prime minister was abruptly halted.
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The latest televised debate between the two Conservative contenders vying to be Britain's next prime minister was abruptly halted Tuesday evening after the moderator fainted on stage.

Live footage of 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 about halfway into the hour-long event.

Moments earlier, 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.

The channel, which launched in April and was hosting the debate alongside The Sun newspaper, later confirmed McCann had fainted.

"Although she is fine, the medical advice was that we shouldn't continue with the debate," it added in a short statement.

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

"Good news that you're already recovering," Sunak said on Twitter around 45 minutes after the incident, tagging McCann.

"It was a great debate and I look forward to getting grilled by you again shortly!"

The event had already been hit by misfortune after The Sun's political editor Harry Cole was forced to withdraw as a co-moderator earlier Tuesday after testing positive for Covid-19.

The debate is the second within 24 hours for Sunak and Truss, after the pair squared off Monday night in a feisty BBC debate.

The duo are contesting a run-off to be the Conservatives' new leader, and thereby prime minister, with the party's approximately 200,000 members set to vote next month.

The winner to replace outgoing prime minister Boris Johnson will be announced on September 5.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.