When is the next Tory leadership debate? Full TV schedule for Rishi Sunak vs Liz Truss and how to watch live



Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are to debate again as they go head-to-head for the country’s top job.

It comes after they debated live for the first time on Monday night as the two remaining Tory leadership hopefuls clashed in a TV debate.

A second debate on Tuesday had to be cut short after the presenter and moderator Kate McCann fainted.

The pair both hope to be selected as the next party leader in the election, which will be decided by 5 September.

Here’s everything you need to know about whats coming up.

What happened in the first debates?

There have been two debates between finalists Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss so far.

The first hour-long face-off was presented by Sophie Raworth on the BBC, and hosted in the Staffordshire city of Stoke-on-Trent, in front of an audience made up entirely of people who voted Conservative at the last General Election.

It came after a weekend that saw allies of the two Tory leadership hopefuls trade increasingly personal attacks, and there was no sign of hositilies easing in the televised clash.

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Former chancellor Mr Sunak claimed there is “nothing Conservative” about Ms Truss’s approach and it would give the party “absolutely no chance” of winning the next election.

And allies of Ms Truss were reported to have said Mr Sunak had demonstrated “aggressive mansplaining and shouty private school behaviour” during the debate.

They discussed China, Ukraine, the Covid debt, and their backgrounds during the debate.

The live studio audience applauded more often for the former chancellor, and a snap poll by Opinium, based on a sample of 1,032 voters, found 39 per cent believed Mr Sunak had performed best compared to 38 per cent for Ms Truss.

What happened in the second debate?

The second debate was due to take place on Talk TV on Tuesday evening.

However, it was dramatically halted and subsequently cancelled after host Kate McCann fainted live on air.

The Tory leadership debate was just over halfway through before a loud noise interrupted the Foreign Secretary who, holding her hands to her face, said: “Oh my God.”

The debate was then taken off-air.

TalkTV apologised to viewers for not resuming the programme, saying in a statement: “Kate McCann fainted on air tonight, and although she is fine, the medical advice was that we shouldn’t continue with the debate.

“We apologise to our viewers and listeners.”

Ms McCann, TalkTV’s political editor, was meant to co-host The Sun’s Showdown: The Fight for No 10 alongside The Sun‘s political editor Harry Cole, but he tested positive for Covid-19 hours before the programme was due to air.

The former chancellor and Foreign Secretary both tweeted to wish the journalist well shortly after the interruption.

Speaking to the PA news agency, audience member Jordan Kiss, from Warrington, said: “We were honestly shocked by what happened and some of us were quite worried.”

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss debating on Tuesday (Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Mr Kiss, who was sat in a separate room at the studios in Ealing, said “the producers reassured us and told us that a paramedic was on scene and that he was giving Kate attention”.

Before the debate was taken off air, the two Tory rivals locked horns once again as they fought for the support of their party members, with taxes and the economy causing the most acrimony.

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.

Interjecting, Mr Sunak said: “What’s morally wrong is asking our children and grandchildren to pick up the tab for the bills that we are not prepared to meet.”

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

The former chancellor described himself as “brave” for introducing the £12bn tax increase to pay for health social care, telling the debate: “I made sure we got the NHS the funding it needed to help work through the backlogs, get everyone the care they needed and do that as quickly as possible.”

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

She said: “I am committed to the extra money that was announced for the NHS. It is needed to deal with the backlog, and I would fund that money out of general taxation.”

They also discussed Putin and corporation tax.

When is the next debate?

The next TV debate will be held on Sky News on Thursday 4 August at 8pm. The programme will be hosted by Kay Burley.

Ms Truss and Mr Sunak will also take to the road to participate in 12 hustings organised by the party across the UK.

The dates and venues are:

  • Leeds on July 28, Exeter on 1 August
  • Cardiff on 3 August
  • Eastbourne on 5 August
  • Darlington on 9 August
  • Cheltenham on 11 August
  • Perth on 16 August
  • Northern Ireland on 17 August
  • Manchester on 19 August
  • Birmingham on 23 August
  • Norwich on 25 August
  • London on 31 August

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