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Final TV debate cancelled as Truss, Sunak pull out

Conservative MPs are said to be concerned about the damage the debates are doing to the image of the party, exposing disagreements and splits, a report from Sky News said.

Conservative MPs are said to be concerned about the damage the debates are doing to the image of the party, exposing disagreements and splits, a report from Sky News said. | Photo Credit: Reuters

The final televised debate among contenders for the leadership of the Conservative party and the U.K. Prime Minister’s job was cancelled after the former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss pulled out, following debates over the weekend, which exposed fissures in the party.

The debate was scheduled for Tuesday night on Sky News but was cancelled following the candidates’ assessment that Sunday night’s debate was not civil enough. While the rancour was orders of magnitude milder than the average American presidential debate (especially since the emergence of Donald Trump), they were deemed damaging to the party, by British standards. The British press characterised the exchanges as ‘vicious’ , ‘bad tempered’ and ‘bruising’ .

For instance, during Sunday night’s debate, Mr. Sunak had referred to Ms. Truss’ plans for a tax cut as “socialism” and “something for nothing economics”.

“Conservative MPs are said to be concerned about the damage the debates are doing to the image of the party, exposing disagreements and splits,” a report from Sky News said.

One of the five remaining candidates – most likely MP Tom Tugendhat – will exit the race by the end of the night, local time, after fellow Tory MPs vote in the third round of the race. Only two candidates will survive further rounds of voting this week. Mr. Sunak continues to be the favourite among bookmakers and has held first place since shortly after the first debate on Friday, displacing trade minister Penny Mordaunt. He also has the support of the largest number of MPs. Following Sunday’s debate, the odds improved for Ms. Truss and got worse for Mr. Mordaunt.


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Printable version | Jul 18, 2022 9:52:45 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/final-tv-debate-cancelled-as-truss-sunak-pull-out/article65654286.ece