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Having two opponents battle it out for one of the most powerful jobs in the country is always going to be tense, but at last night’sThe Sun’s Showdown: The Fight for No.10, co-host Kate McCann’s startling exit sent the network into a tizz.
Half an hour into the televised head-to-head, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss could be heard gasping, “Oh my god” as she walked with her hand over her mouth towards McCann. However, viewers were left in the dark as the screen switched to show the message: “We’re sorry for the disruption to this programme. We’re working hard to fix the issue and will return to normal programming soon.”
After a long pause, viewers were eventually told that a “medical issue” caused the disturbance. It later transpired that the TalkTV journalist had fainted in the middle of the debate between the two politicians battling to be the leader of the Conservative party, and consequently, the next Prime Minister of the UK.
Posting to McCann on Twitter, the former chancellor Rishi Sunak wrote: “Good news that you’re already recovering. It was a great debate and I look forward to getting grilled by you again shortly!” While Truss tweeted: “Relieved to hear @KateEMcCann is fine. Really sorry that such a good debate had to end. Look forward to catching up with Kate and the rest of the @TheSun @TalkTV team again soon.”
The journalist was born in London and has a degree in politics from Newcastle University. However, after graduating in 2009, she started out as parliamentary researcher in the House of Commons until 2011.
Based in Westminster, McCann is currently a correspondent focused on “delivering analysis, breaking news and exclusive stories” according to her bio on TalkTV, where she has been working since January. Before then, she worked as a political correspondent at Sky News, as the Whitehall correspondent at The Sun and as a senior political correspondent at The Daily Telegraph.
According to an interview with the Press Gazette in 2019, her family motto is “Dare to be different”, which she has aimed to embody throughout her career. Most notably when publishing Jeremy Corbyn’s leaked Labour manifesto in its entirety in 2017 during her time at the Telegraph. It was the first time a newspaper had done so and it earned her praise at the Press Awards in 2017. She also “dares to be different” as the deputy chair of the Press Gallery, a body which represents over 300 journalists at Westminster, having previously been chair in 2018 – the second woman to hold such title in over 200 years.
Talking to Press Gazette about her move to talkTV earlier this year, Miss McCann said she was excited the network is able to ‘rip up all the rules and start again’. Described as “one of the sharpest rising stars in the Lobby” by Scott Taunton, CEO of News UK Broadcasting, her appointment as political editor at TalkTV was also said to be “the perfect choice”.
Although she acknowledged that there is “always a risk” in starting a new channel, she also confessed that’s “what makes it exciting”. Before the move, McCann sought advice from ex-Sky editor-at-large Adam Boulton, who was instrumental in launching the channel 33 years ago, who said, “one of the best things he ever did was join a start-up, he absolutely loved it and thinks it’s an amazing opportunity and he highly recommended it.”
The savvy reporter first appeared on TalkTV on its debut night during Tom Newton Dunn’s 7pm news programme The News Desk. Here she had an exclusive interview with a former royal aide who alleged Prince Andrew lunged at her when she was 21, and also reported from Westminster on the sexism row surrounding the Mail on Sunday’s story about Angela Rayner, in which Tory MPs claimed the Shadow Deputy Leader used “Basic Instinct”-style tactics to distract Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions.
What’s more, it appears McCann is diving head first into her new position. In the Press Gazette interview, she revealed she may appear on Piers Morgan’s controversial Uncensored show in the future. “I think being able to see how Piers does it, see behind the scenes, get inside his brain a little bit – that’s what I’m excited about,” she explained on her decision. “He makes you up your game because he tries to catch you out, which is fun.”
As McCann continues to recover from last night’s dramatic incident, expect to see lots more of this rising political journalist in the coming years.