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UK Tory leadership TV debate cut short after moderator collapses on air

LONDON — A high-stakes TV debate between the two candidates to succeed Boris Johnson as U.K. prime minister was abruptly cut short Tuesday evening when the moderator fainted live on air.

The debate — jointly hosted by the Rupert Murdoch-owned venture TalkTV and his Sun newspaper — went off air just after the halfway point after a loud crash was heard in the studio.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the favorite to win the leadership contest, was on camera answering a question about Russian President Vladimir Putin, and looked visibly shocked.

She could be seen mouthing “oh my god” and then rushing from her podium toward the sound of the crash.

The channel then cut to a holding message stating that they were “sorry for the disruption to this program.”

A spokesperson for TalkTV confirmed that host Kate McCann had fainted.

“Kate McCann fainted on air tonight and although she is fine, the medical advice was that we shouldn’t continue with the debate,” the channel said in a statement. “We apologise to our viewers and listeners.”

McCann, a former Sky News presenter, had been hired by TalkTV to be its first political editor when the channel launched earlier this year.

Her collapse was the second medical incident to befall the channel on Tuesday. Her planned co-host, Harry Cole, the Sun’s political editor, had to pull out of the debate earlier on Tuesday after testing positive for COVID-19, leaving McCann the solo host for the hour-long show.

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