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The British TV debate over the Tory’s image fears has been shut down

#British #debate #Torys #image #fears #shut

TV bosses were forced on Monday to scrap a planned debate between contenders for the leadership of Britain’s Conservative Party as MPs voted again to narrow the field.

The five remaining contestants – Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt and Tom Tugendhat – were due to appear in the third televised debate on Tuesday night.

But former Treasury Secretary Sunak and Foreign Secretary Truss pulled out, told Sky News, which was set to host the programme.

“Conservative MPs should be concerned about the damage the debates are doing to the image of the Conservative Party by revealing disagreements and divisions within the party,” she added in a statement.

Conservative MPs are holding a series of votes to reduce the candidates to just two before a broader Tory base vote.

The last will start at 1600 GMT, with Tugendhat expected to win the fewest votes and be eliminated when the result is announced from 1900 GMT.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on July 7 that he was stepping down as Conservative leader after a government rebellion in protest at his scandal-ridden government.

He will remain prime minister until his successor is announced on September 5.

In the two previous televised debates – Friday on Channel 4 and Sunday on the ITV network – contenders particularly squabbled over whether to cut taxes to ease a mounting cost-of-living crisis.

But Sunday’s clash grew more acrimonious – and personal – with candidates encouraged to directly criticize each other and their proposals.

Sunak called on Truss to have voted against Brexit, her past membership in the Liberal Democrats and her position on taxation.

In return, Truss questioned Sunak’s responsibility for the economy.

Badenoch attacked Mordaunt for her stance on transgender rights – a rallying cry in the “culture wars” wielding Tory law.

Paul Goodman of the ConservativeHome website compared the debates to a “political version of ‘The Hunger Games'” and asked why they agreed.

“Tory MPs and campaigners will have watched in horror as several of the candidates threw buckets of dung over each other,” he wrote.

He asked why they would publicly accept criticizing the government’s record, in which all but one of them served, or the policies they supported as ministers.

The main opposition party, Labor, is calling on Johnson to leave immediately.

Its chairman, Keir Starmer, called the candidates’ withdrawal a sign of a party that “has no more ideas (and) no longer has any intentions”.

“Retiring from a televised debate when you want to be prime minister doesn’t show a lot of confidence,” he added.

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