TalkTV Tory leadership debate scrapped after host Kate McCann faints on-air

ITV News Political Deputy Political Editor Anushka Asthana has the latest on the Tory leadership contest, as the TalkTV debate ended prematurely

A Tory leadership debate held by TalkTV and The Sun dramatically ended midway after host Kate McCann fainted on-air.

Just over halfway through Tuesday's clash between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, a loud crash in the studio interrupted proceedings.Ms Truss looked visibly worried and could be heard saying “oh my god”, as she walked off the stage.

The Foreign Secretary looked visibly worried and could be heard saying “oh my god”, as she walked off the stage.

After the interruption, TalkTV dramatically went off-air. Programming restarted minutes after, but the broadcaster threw to presenter Ian Collins rather than returning to the debate.

TalkTV has said Ms McCann is "fine" but the debate will not resume on Tuesday night.

She was meant to appear alongside The Sun’s political editor Harry Cole, but he tested positive for Covid-19 earlier on Tuesday.

After confirmation that the debate would not resume, Mr Sunak said it was "good news" that Ms McCann was recovering.

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

Ms Truss said she was "relieved" to hear Ms McCann was fine, but also "really sorry that such a good debate had to end".During the clash, Mr Sunak and Ms Truss butted heads once again over taxes, NHS funding and the economy.

Ms Truss said it was “morally wrong” to raise taxes during a cost-of-living crisis, but Mr Sunak quickly shot back, saying it was “morally wrong” to heap more debt on future generations.

Mr Sunak also said it was “entirely reasonable” to ask the largest companies to pay “a bit more” tax because they received taxpayer-funded support during the pandemic.

Deputy Political Editor Anushka Asthana gives an overview of the rest of the debate

“They still will pay a very generous rate of tax compared to most other countries,” he added. But Ms Truss, who said she would scrap the scheduled 19p to 25p increase in corporation tax, said: “I am not talking about cutting corporation tax, I’m talking about not raising corporation tax." Mr Sunak’s policies would make the UK less competitive and push the country into recession, she warned.

The two also clashed over the rise in national insurance, introduced by Mr Sunak to help pay for the NHS and social care.

Ms Truss said she would scrap the national insurance rise and use general taxation to fund the NHS.

Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen on how the leadership hopefuls fared during the debate

The two Tory leadership contenders had certainly started out trying to be nicer to each another this evening. Rishi Sunak - who had been on such pugnacious form in last night’s debate - hadn’t interrupted Liz Truss once by the time this evenings event was called off. What hasn’t changed is the central argument about the economy. It was everywhere. When Sunak said ‘Happy Birthday’ to Truss (she’s 47 today) he quickly segued into talking about the economy. When she answered by saying she’d had lots of cards and cake that too turned into a point about her economic plan. On other issues it can be harder to tell the two apart. They both want reform for the NHS and support fracking. And all that is a problem for Sunak. If the polls are right (which his team dispute) then he needs some other selling point to get back into this race. Because the ones he’s got don’t seem to be doing the job.