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Presenter faints on air during UK leadership debate

A live debate between the two candidates vying to succeed Boris Johnson as British Prime Minister came to a dramatic end when the presenter fainted. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the bookmakers’ favourite to win the Conservative Party leadership election, and former finance minister Rishi Sunak were sparring over their plans when a loud crash was heard in the studio.

The debate, which was being hosted by Talk TV and the Sun newspaper and broadcast live, cut away with Truss looking visibly concerned.

“Oh my God,” she was heard saying before the broadcast went off the air.

Shortly afterwards Talk TV said the presenter Kate McCann had fainted. The broadcast had briefly resumed showing the two candidates talking to a small audience in the studio, although there was no sound.

“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.

Before the premature end, Truss and Sunak had again clashed over their tax and spending plans, and what they would do to address a cost of living crisis. Truss claims that Sunak’s emphasis on balancing the government’s books and raising taxes on business would tip the economy into recession.

“I do think it is morally wrong at this moment when families are struggling to pay for their food, that we have put up taxes on ordinary people when we said we wouldn’t in our manifesto and when we didn’t need to do so,” Truss said during the debate.

Sunak, whose resignation from the government earlier this month set in motion Johnson’s downfall, argued that money from tax rises he brought in was necessary to pay for extra spending on healthcare.

“I think what’s morally wrong is asking our children and grandchildren to pick up the tab for the bills that we’re not prepared to meet,” Sunak said.

A YouGov poll of Conservative Party members, who will ultimately decide on the next leader, found that 50 percent thought Truss performed the best in the first clash on Monday, with 39 percent backing Sunak. They also saw Truss as more in touch with ordinary people, more likeable and more trustworthy. Sunak narrowly edged her by 43 percent to 42 percent on who was the best suited prime ministerial candidate.

The winner of the election, which will be decided by a ballot of fewer than 200,000 Conservative members, will be announced on September 5.

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