Sunak scores as Truss fazes in debate

LONDON (AFP) — Rishi Sunak on Thursday appeared to score a surprise win with a studio audience at a key debate with frontrunner Liz Truss in the race to become Britain’s next prime minister.

While opinion polls back Truss to win the vote among Conservative party members, those sitting in the audience at the Sky News debate overwhelmingly supported Sunak in a show of hands — after an electronic voting system broke down.

Truss had faced acerbic questioning from presenter Kay Burley, including a run-through of her policy U-turns.

Truss had earlier been forced into another U-turn after a damaging statement by her campaign team on Monday that the government could save £8.8 billion ($10.75 billion) a year if it paid lower salaries to public sector workers who lived outside London.

“You wanted to cut civil servants’ pay in the regions and then you said you didn’t,” Burley said, listing her policy U-turns.

Truss insisted the proposal was misrepresented by media.

“Should good leaders own their mistakes, or should they blame others?” Burley asked her.

“I’m not blaming anybody else. I’m not. I’m not. I’m saying the policy has been misrepresented by various people,” Truss said, appearing flustered.

The result of the vote between Truss and Sunak, to decide who will replace Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is due on 5 September.

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