Liz Truss wins TV debate ‘by a country mile’ as viewers dub Rishi ‘rude, loud and boring’

Nick Ferrari slams BBC debate between Sunak and Truss

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The final two in the race to become the next Tory leader and British Prime Minister took to the stage on Monday night in Stoke-on-Trent for a BBC One special, their first one-on-one clash since seeing off all other rivals in a series of ballots of Conservative MPs. After sitting alongside one another in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet for more than two years, the gloves came off as the election battle to succeed their ousted former boss enters its final stages.

The pair once again clashed over taxes, with Ms Truss saying: “This Chancellor has raised taxes to the highest rate in 70 years, and we’re now predicted a recession. The truth is in the figures.”

Mr Sunak, who previously described his opponent’s plans to cut £30billion in taxes as “fairytale economics”, said there was “nothing Conservative” about her proposals and that they would cost the party the next election.

Ms Truss struck back by accusing the former Chancellor of “doom and gloom” economics and playing into “project fear”.

A blow from Ms Truss bringing up Mr Sunak’s private school education at Winchester College backfired, as the former Chancellor said he was “not going to apologise” for his background, earning him an early round of applause.

Mr Sunak was also keen to remind the audience that Ms Truss had campaigned against Brexit.

The reply from Ms Truss was that she had based her decision on Treasury figures that proved inaccurate, saying that was when she learned not to trust No 11’s economic forecasts.

The tone became considerably lighter when the topic of each other’s wardrobes came up, following Nadine Dorries’ contrasting of Ms Truss’s £4.50 earrings to Mr Sunak’s expensive suit.

The pair agreed style choices had no bearing on the quality of a leader, before Ms Truss added that she was a “great admirer of his dress sense.”

Keen to heal any wounds from the more heated moments of the hour, both candidates ended with praise and affirmed the other would be welcome in their Cabinet.

In a poll that ran from 10pm on Monday, July 25, to 3pm on Tuesday, July 26, asked readers: “Who won the latest Tory leadership debate?” 

In total, 5,887 people responded of whom the overwhelming majority thought Liz Truss was the victor, taking 72 percent (4,216 people) of the votes.

Only 24 percent (1,431 people) thought Rishi Sunak came out on top.

A further four percent (240 people) said they didn’t know either way. 

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Hundreds of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers themselves debated their position.

In line with the poll result, many emphatically expressed their support for Liz Truss.

Username sebsmit said: “Truss won by a country mile.” and username Libbyloo said: “Truss. No contest.”

Some readers spoke out about Mr Sunak’s debating manners, username Bystanderfogey saying: “I thought they were very civil towards each other – except when Sunak interrupted and talked over Truss. Shouting louder doesn’t mean better.”

And another, username xJonjo, wrote: “As well as having a dreadful track record as Chancellor, Sunak showed himself to be rude, loud and boring.”

Others seemed unimpressed by the performance from both sides, username erik saying: “We did not hear any policy nor forward thinking from Sunak, and only some from Liz when she was not shouted down by Sunak.”

Some readers seized the opportunity to reaffirm their support for the outgoing Prime Minister, username Philip M1 replying to the poll question: “WHO CARES. Come back BORIS.”

Username Pookum said: “No one wants either. The person who should be in No 10 is Boris Johnson and every MP knows this.”

Others still cast predictions well into the future, username nurseratched saying: “The long-term winner will be the loser. 

“The loser will have the opportunity to run again in the wake of the 2024 election defeat and if successful rebuild the party from ground zero.”

An Opinuim snap debate poll put Mr Sunak marginally ahead on 39 percent to Ms Truss’s 38 percent.

Nevertheless, the betting odds are still clearly in favour of the Foreign Secretary.

The pair will clash again at two more televised debates over the coming days, the first of which tonight at 6pm, hosted by The Sun and TalkTV. 

The Conservative membership will begin casting their ballots from August 5 as the candidates settle into a month of hustings across the country, making their pitches in the hopes of emerging Tory leader and Prime Minister on September 5.

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