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Sky News cancels Tory leadership debate as Sunak and Truss pull out

18 Jul 2022 4 minute read
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss taking part in the ITV leadership debate. Photo Jonathan Hordle/ITV
Sky News has cancelled its scheduled Tory leadership debate after Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss declined to take part after televised hustings descended into public slanging matches.The broadcaster cancelled Tuesday evening’s event with a day’s notice after sources in Mr Sunak’s camp suggested he would only do further TV confrontations if he succeeds in making it to the final two candidates.

Team Truss argued they were focused on behind-closed-doors hustings to win the support of Conservative MPs, who are whittling down the contenders.

A statement from Sky News read: “Tuesday evening’s live television debate on Sky News between the Conservative Party leadership candidates has been cancelled.

“Two of the three candidates currently leading in the MPs’ ballots – Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss – have confirmed to Sky News that they do not want to take part.

“Conservative MPs are said to be concerned about the damage the debates are doing to the image of the Conservative Party, exposing disagreements and splits within the party.

“Both are very welcome to take part in future Sky News televised debates.”

Contenders

The leadership contenders – Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt, Tom Tugendhat and Kemi Badenoch – have already taken part in debates on Channel 4 and ITV which have seen the would-be prime ministers taking primetime pot shots at each other.

Ms Mordaunt’s record in office came in for further attack from International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan on LBC Radio on Monday morning.

Asked about Ms Mordaunt’s grasp of details, Ms Trevelyan said: “We all do our jobs in different ways.

“Understandably, perhaps, now it’s clear, Penny has for the last few months spent some of her time focused on preparing her leadership campaign, for which I have utmost respect, that’s how this system works.”

Ms Trevelyan told LBC Radio: “There have been a number of times when she hasn’t been available, which would have been useful, and other ministers have picked up the pieces.”

The contenders for the Tory leadership will be whittled down to just four as MPs cast their votes in the third round of the contest to find a successor to Boris Johnson.

In jeopardy

Mr Tugendhat had fewer votes than his remaining rivals in the last ballot on Thursday and he would seem to be in the most jeopardy this time round.

Ms Trevelyan said she hopes he will get another chance to run for the leadership if he fails in this attempt.

“He has this extraordinary ability to bring people together to work with him who would not otherwise work together,” she said.

“I think it’s a genuine gift and I wanted the rest of the world to see much more of it.

“If this isn’t his time, I hope that there will be a future time when he can lead the party.”

Cabinet minister Kit Malthouse said he expects the Tories to pull together in a “spirit of harmony and love” after the leadership battle.

“All political parties are standing coalitions and the Conservative Party is the same,” he told Sky News.

“A vigorous exchange of ideas, in what is a challenging time for the country, should be expected when you are talking about such important issues and the leadership of a G7 nation.

“If it was just a polite agreement and consensus across the board, there wouldn’t be much point in having a competition at all.”

Mr Malthouse has not publicly declared his support for any of the candidates to succeed Mr Johnson.

Final vote

A series of votes among Tory MPs this week will narrow the field down to a final two, who will then face a summer of campaigning for the support of party members in a final vote.

The new leader will be announced on September 5 and is expected to become prime minister the following day.

Mr Sunak said that if he is successful his first foreign trip would be to Kyiv to stress the UK’s continued support for Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion.

He told The Sun: “I will reinforce our policy of total support for Ukraine that Boris has so ably led.”

But Ms Mordaunt said her campaign had the support of 10 Ukrainian MPs.

Meanwhile, Ms Truss seized on analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research which suggested that tax revenues in 2024/25 will be around £60 billion more than the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates, partly due to the impact of high inflation.

A spokeswoman for Ms Truss said: “The CEBR analysis shows that there is money for tax cuts whilst still bringing debt down.”


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Colin Williams
Colin Williams
4 months ago

“Conservative MPs are said to be concerned about the damage the debates are doing to the image of the Conservative Party”.

I hope this continues.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
4 months ago
Reply to  Colin Williams

What is left to be concerned about? Their image is already in the gutter. Perhaps they think if they can stop it going down the drains, they can rescue something from the sediment.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago

And I thought there was a new animation series on TV but Thunderbirds are gone…you really could see the strings if not who was pulling them…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

The thing is; e.g. this poor girl made good from a ‘rubbish’ school lived and went to a community school in Roundhay, the posh bit of Leeds, and her dad was a Professor of Pure Maths…they are mostly fake news and half truths, such that a bright 8 year old could pull off the internet all their skeletons in an afternoon of computer studies and in half a week give a complete breakdown of why they all are unworthy of deciding the future of any of us…one must assume that Fat Shanks must have told them all just to shut… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

I have just found this…If you want proof visit the Guardian Opinion page and read Martin Pengelly’s piece on this ‘poor girl little Miss Truss’ she and they must think we are all illiterate sun readers…this what happens when you have 8 out of 10 newspapers in your pocket and you yourself are the same…

Erisian
Erisian
4 months ago

was down the beach yesterday and the amount of rubbish left was disgusting

one thing for sure, these weren’t due to second home owners.

disgraceful.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

Same with dog poo in Abermaw, always worse in the winter…

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
4 months ago

In other words, they realise that the entire population can now see just what a bunch of no nothing fraudulent lying tw*ts they really are. Someone needs to explain how these cretins who’ve been in power for the last 12 years have suddenly worked out what they’ve been doing wrong and with a wave of a magic wand and with the 4th new leader that the UK won’t be voting for again, put every thing right

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
4 months ago

I unfortunately flicked onto that Conservative diarrhea-fest last night to my horror. What a load of vacuous grinning political pigmies Thet were. Wanted to poke my eyes out Rishy Sunak tried his hardest to do an impression of Tony Blair without invading Iraq. He kept grinning like a Cheshire cat on heat whist brushing aside any questions about his non dom wife’s tax avoidance stating how you too can be like me. All you need is a wife with a rich father blah blah blah…. Cardboard Conservative Liz Truss was so wooden she needed a coat of varnish. She’s also… Read more »

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
4 months ago

Cowards! Sky should empty chaired the pair of them!

The Original Mark
The Original Mark
4 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

BBC Radio 4 news making excuses for them already, apparently they didn’t pull out because no one had agreed to do it??? That’s the idiot Evan Davies’ take on it.

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