ITV viewers fume over Julie Etchingham ‘letting Sunak interrupt Starmer’

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ITV viewers have been left fuming watching the debate between Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and leader of the opposition Sir Keir Starmer – but not for the reason you might think.

The Tory and Labour leaders went head-to-head in the first General Election debate on Tuesday night, in front of a live studio audience and moderated by newsreader Julie Etchingham.

And while they clashed over taxes, the NHS and immigration, those watching at home were more concerned about the debate descending into chaos, with Julie being accused of allowing one leader to speak over another.

‘@ITV why bother having Julie Etchingham mediating when she allows RS to talk over her and KS and then let him ask the questions? Poor show,’ Alexandra fumed on X.

Dean added: ‘Julie Etchingham needs to let Starmer pick up on points. Allowing Sunak to talk over and interrupt and make points but not Starmer.’

Tim seethed: ‘Switching off now as you cannot control Sunak. Pathetic and shambolic.’

Viewers have fumed at Julie Etchingham’s handling of the debate (Picture: Jonathan Hordle-ITV via Getty Images)

‘A dreadful format and you were not in control. You let Sunak talk over you and Starmer all the time,’ Cath added.

‘Maybe let Starmer answer and stop Sunak shouting over him. Just a thought,’ Tom wrote.

Suzanne added: ‘You’re doing a terrible job of this. You’re letting Sunak speak over Starmer and then cut Starmer off! Appalling job.’

Carol Vorderman urged: ‘Time for Julie Etchingham to tell Sunak to shut up.’

Julie did deliver a ‘gentle reminder’ to the politicians to not speak over each other after repeated instances, while some viewers urged them not to speak over her either.

She warned: ‘Welcome to Sunak vs Starmer, the ITV debate. The first half was dominated by the cost of living and public services, now just a little information for both of our candidates here.

‘Please an appeal from me, not to speak over one other. We want to make sure that everybody can hear what you’re saying.

Julie Etchingham

Julie had to give the politicians a ‘gentle reminder’ (Picture: Jonathan Hordle-ITV via Getty Images)

‘That was a gentle reminder, it may not be so gentle next time.’

Julie later erupted at the two, asking them to ‘lower their voices’, while Sir Keir hit out to Sunak: ‘Can I get a word in edgeways?’

Other viewers jumped in to defend Julie, with one saying she did a ‘good job moderating this boisterous debate – considering the crosstalk’.

Metro.co.uk has approached ITV for comment.

Sunak v Starmer: The ITV Debate is available to watch on ITVX.

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