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10th Aug 2022

Microphone picks up fiery spat between Tom Newton Dunn and Liz Truss following leadership debate

Jack Peat

Not sure we were supposed to hear that…

Tom Newton Dunn seemed less than impressed with Liz Truss‘ characterisation of the media during a leadership debate last night.

The Tory leadership contender accused journalists of framing questions in a “leftwing way” as the TalkTV television presenter tried to get answers on the worsening cost-of-living crisis.

Truss has remained unmoved on giving support to low-income families and those on welfare to help combat spiralling energy bills, instead spending time recounting constituencies the Conservatives have picked up under Johnson’s government.

She reiterated her pledge to cut taxes instead, saying “what I’m talking about is enabling people to keep more money in their own pockets”.

Perhaps in a underhanded dig at the chancellor and prime ministerial opponent Rishi Sunak, he also went on to reiterate how her party believes in “low taxes” – despite the situation being the worst it has been for 70 years.

Confronting the issue on Tuesday night, Newton Dunn mentioned “your handouts” as he sought to pose a question on the perilous situation.

Truss interrupted, replying: “They are not giveaways, Tom. This is people’s money, but this is the problem with the way that every question is framed.”

She added: “You’re framing it in a leftwing way, Tom. I’m afraid the whole media does this all the time … it drives me mad.”

Truss was later asked if Boris Johnson’s downfall as prime minister was of his own making or someone else’s. Some audience members shouted out, saying it was the “media”.

Truss said: “Sounds like you’re being blamed, Tom, and, you know, who am I to disagree with this excellent audience?”

Asked to clarify her view, she outlined that she was a “loyal cabinet minister”, but did not directly answer the question, saying “what is done is done and we are where we are”.

Later, talking about spending commitments and her plans, Truss said: “I believe in Britain, unlike some of the media who choose to talk our country down.”

Newton Dunn replied: “For the record, that’s the third time you’ve attacked the media – a lot of which supports your campaign.”

At the end of the debate she was caught on a microphone apologising to Newton Dunn, saying: “I am sorry I was mean about the media, Tom.”

Newton Dunn replied that the jibes about the media were “cheap”.

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