Tory leadership TV debate cancelled after Sunak and Truss pull out

Tory leadership TV debate cancelled, Sky News has announced after Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss pulled out of the final TV debate which was set to take place tomorrow evening.
Tory leadership TV debate cancelled ater Sunak and Truss pull out

Tory leadership TV debate cancelled after Sunak and Truss pull out

Tory leadership TV debate cancelled, Sky News has announced.

Tomorrow’s final TV debate between Conservative leadership hopefuls has been cancelled by hosts Sky News after Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss pulled out from the event. 

The event was due to be hosted by Kay Burley tomorrow evening.

Tory MPs are said to be concerned about the damage the debates are doing to the Tory party as a whole, as the previous two TV debates have highlighted disagreements and split within the party.

Head of Sky News, John Ryley, said: “Sky News has campaigned for an independent commission to organise the running of TV debates between leaders of Britain’s main parties.

“Sky News and other broadcasters worked successfully together on televised leadership debates ahead of the 2010 general election.”

It comes following last night’s “bad-tempered” exchanges between former chancellor Rishi Sunak and foreign secretary Liz Truss during the ITV debate. 

The remaining candidates are Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt, Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat. 

 

Rishi Sunak has virtually guaranteed his place in the final – with the real battle being between Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss for second place. 

On the last ballot all, accept Tom Tugedghat, gained support. Tugendhat dropped five votes. 

‘We welcome public scrutiny’

Responding to the announcement, a spokesman for Ms Badenoch said: “The people standing in this contest are friends as well as colleagues and afterwards the party must come together to deliver for the country.

“Kemi welcomes public scrutiny – it builds trust. She is open to a debate which sheds light on the issues that matter, but not one which is designed purely to cause a row.”

A source from Tom Tugendhat’s team said he has “never stepped away from public scrutiny and has been the one candidate who has always put himself forward to the media holding an hour’s Q&A last week”.

“Given candidates are putting themselves forward to hold the greatest office in the land they should subject themselves to a similar level of scrutiny. If not through debates then in other formats,” the source added.

Sunday’s debate saw Rishi Sunak accuse Liz Truss of peddling “something-for-nothing” economics after she said he was choking off growth by raising taxes to their highest level in 70 years. 

Meanwhile, Liz Truss had some sharp words for Rishi Sunak’s record in the Treasury, telling him: “Rishi, you have raised taxes to the highest level in 70 years. That is not going to drive economic growth.

“You raised national insurance, even though people like me opposed it in cabinet at the time because we could have afforded to fund the NHS through general taxation.

“The fact is that raising taxes at this moment will choke off economic growth; it will prevent us getting the revenue we need to pay off the debt.”

There were further furious exchanges between Penny Mordaunt and Kemi Badenoch. 

‘This county deserves better’ 

A Labour spokesperson told Sky News: “The country deserves better than Tory candidates hiding from scrutiny simply because their first two performances have shown they would be a danger to the economy and the future of the UK.”

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey added: “The Conservatives say they want to lead but they won’t even turn up to debate the issues that matter to our country.”

The series of ballots will continue throughout the week until there are just two candidates left. Those two will spend the summer at hustings trying to win the support of Tory Party members.

Those members will then vote in their new leader – and ultimately our new PM by 5 September.

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