Tory leadership live: Sunak and Truss in Sky debate

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Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are hoping to woo voters as ballots to choose the next Tory leader are sent out to around 160,000 Conservative party members

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss continued their Tory leadership campaigns with a Sky News debate.

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Hosted by journalist Kay Burley and with an audience full of Conservative members, the two candidates faced an evening of questioning as the leadership competition heated up.

Ms Truss was grilled over her public wages policy, with Ms Burley and bystanders questioning her intentions with the policy, which could lead to pay cuts for teachers, nurses and other public workers outside London and the South East.

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She reiterated that the policy had been “misinterpreted” by the media, although one listener said her campaign’s press release made that clear.

She was also asked about the current situation in Taiwan.

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Asked whether the UK would supply arms to Taiwan in the event of an invasion of China, Ms Truss explained that the UK has long had a policy of licensing equipment to Taiwan and when asked if she would tell the US spokesperson – House Representative Nancy Pelosi would follow on a visit to the island, saying she said no. We have long held the position that the foreign minister, the defense ministry and the prime minister should not visit Taiwan.”

Mr Sunak relied on his financial plans throughout the debate and took a stab at Ms Truss’ tax cut plans.

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He said: “I’m not sitting or standing here promising you £10 and £10billion in goodies right away because I don’t think that’s the right thing for our economy. I think it’s risky.

“I think it risks making the inflation problem a lot worse and costing you all a lot more.”

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At the end of the debate, Ms Burley asked the audience who she thought had won the debate and despite falling behind in the polls, Mr Sunak emerged victorious.

The debate begins with ballots being mailed out to some 160,000 party members who will elect the country’s next prime minister.

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Mr Sunak and Ms Truss last stood before voters during a husting in Cardiff on Wednesday 3 August.

Both were criticized during their campaign for apparent about-faces; Ms Truss has said that potential public sector pay cuts have been misinterpreted by the media and that there has been no reversal of this policy at all, while Mr Sunak has reversed when he announced a plan to eliminate VAT on energy bills.

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Who is the favorite to win the competition?

Currently, Ms Truss is the favorite to win the Tory leadership contest.

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A new ConservativeHome poll showed that 56% of respondents intended to use their vote to elect Ms Truss as party leader, while only Mr Sunak had just 26% of the support. 12% of respondents remain undecided.

Ms Truss is also the bookmakers’ favorite to win, with Paddy Power currently giving odds of 1/12 for the Foreign Secretary to become party leader and prime minister. Mr. Sunak’s odds are currently 11/2.

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Last updated: Thursday, August 04, 2022 at 9:40 p.m

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Rishi Sunak is sticking to anti-inflation policies rather than tax cuts

Dire news came today after it was revealed that the country is likely to slip into recession by the end of the year and the next potential Tory leader will no doubt have to have plans to stem the impact of that.

Rishi Sunak has advocated a policy of fighting inflation but not cutting taxes while they remain high.

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He reiterated this, saying: “It’s not the tax burden that’s causing the recession. That’s just wrong. What causes the recession is inflation. That’s the root of the problem, not just here, but in America and elsewhere.

“So the main way we’re going to get through this is by getting inflation under control.

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He added: “What I’m not going to do is start a tens of billions of pounds worth of lending, putting that on the country’s credit card and asking our children and grandchildren to foot the bill because that’s not right is. That is not responsible.”

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Liz Truss justifies public wage policy

Liz Truss has come under criticism after what appears to have reversed a decision to cut salaries for public workers like teachers and nurses outside of London.

The Foreign Secretary has taken the position that the policy has been misinterpreted by the media, but received a question from an angry potential voter who stated that her “misinterpreted” policy was offensive to public workers outside London and the South East.

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Ms Truss said she made the decision not to proceed with the policy following the response, adding that the policy was not intended to include workers such as teachers, nurses and police officers.

Kay Burley grilled her more, prompting Ms Truss to admit the policy was a mistake and that she had blamed the media for the backlash rather than face the about-face.

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Ms Truss stood firm, declaring that politics was not the key to her campaign and was out of the question as a result of the criticism.

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Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak in the Sky News debate

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak face off in the latest debate as Sky News hosts the two contestants.

The pair will face questions from an audience of Conservative Party members as well as debate moderator Kay Burley.

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It comes as ballots are being sent out to around 160,000 party members to choose the UK’s next leader and Prime Minister.

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Debate canceled after incident

TalkTV has apologized to viewers after announcing today’s debate would be canceled altogether.

Presenter Kate McCann fainted in the studio while the debate was still going on, resulting in the event being canceled.

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It has now been announced that the show has been canceled and will not be returning to screens.

The broadcaster said in a statement: “Kate McCann passed out on air tonight and although she is fine, medical advice has been that we should not continue the debate.

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“We apologize to our viewers and listeners.”

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Debate on break due to medical issues

The debate was adjourned because of a “medical issue”.

A spokesman for The Sun said: “There has been a medical issue, we hope to be back on the air soon.”

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TalkTV tweeted that there were no security issues at the studio and that Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak were not involved in the medical incident.

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Discussion about hiatus due to studio output

The TalkTV and The Sun debate between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss was suspended due to an incident in the studio. (Credit: PA)

The leadership debate was interrupted due to an incident in the studio.

Liz Truss was answering a question when there was a loud crack and the transmission was cut off.

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The candidates grilled about the cost of living crisis

Arguably one of the most immediate issues affecting people’s lives is the cost of living, and Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have been grilled over their plans to curb soaring prices.

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Ms Truss said: “As Prime Minister, I will be putting money in people’s pockets from day one, driving growth and creating opportunity with a new growth plan.

“It is wrong that we currently have the highest tax burden in this country that we have had in 70 years.”

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Ms Truss also pledged to support rural communities with alignment plans to reduce the cost of homegrown food.

Mr Sunak drew on his experience as Chancellor to show voters he had already taken steps to remedy this, adding that “I will do more if the situation calls for it”.

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Sunak and Truss take part in a debate hosted by The Sun

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss face off in their second public debate. (Credit: PA)

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss face off in their second public debate.

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Hosted by The Sun and TalkTV, the public could send their questions directly to the candidates.

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Sunak and Truss assess Boris Johnson’s tenure

The debate was rounded off with a quick question and answer session by moderator Sophie Raworth.

She asked the two candidates how they would rate Boris Johnson’s time as Prime Minister of 10.

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Mrs. Truss quickly gave Mr. Johnson a seven.

Mr Sunak initially said Mr Johnson was doing a good job until he stumbled.

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He then explained that he would give the future former prime minister a 10 if he got Brexit done, receiving a round of applause from the audience.

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The candidates downplay Nadine Dorries’ tweet

The two candidates tried to squash comments from the Culture Secretary, in which she compared Ms Truss’ £4.50 Claire’s Acssessories earrings to Mr Sunak’s £3,500 designer suit.

BBC Politics Editor Chris Mason pressed the couple for a response when asked if Ms Dorries’ comments were relevant.

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Mr Sunak downplayed claims that this was representative of low blows and personal attacks during the competitive race, adding that he had the utmost respect for his fellow contestants throughout the process.

Ms Truss echoed his comment when asked if Ms Dorries, who has supported her campaign, was right to comment on issues including fashion to compare the two.

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