We will soon discover the two Tory leadership hopefuls facing a head-to-head in the race for Number 10. With time running out for the candidates to make their pitches, the gloves were off in last night’s televised debate. Five of our writers give their verdicts on who they think came out on top.
Also from this morning’s Front Page newsletter: Our verdicts on Tory leadership debate & how to keep your mind sharp in old.
As temperatures build to record levels, the UK is slowing down. Britain will grind to a virtual standstill today as trains across the country are cancelled and the public is told to consider staying at home in the heatwave.
Blanket speed restrictions will be imposed on all railway lines, with both train operators and Highways England warning people not to travel.
The Met Office said that “in general” it would be safer to stay indoors if possible. Some GP surgeries and operating theatres have already closed. Schools in several counties confirmed they will shut for two days.
In Europe, a heatwave is said to have already killed more than 300 people. Firefighters are battling to control huge wildfires in Spain, Greece and France.
Temperatures hit 45.7C degrees in Spain, with firefighters supported by the armed forces trying to stamp out more than 30 fires blazing in forests. See the latest pictures and video.
|Tory leadership debate: Who won? Read our writers’ verdicts.
The Tory leadership race is entering its final stages, with three knockout rounds this week.
Contenders will be whittled down to four today as MPs cast their votes in the third stage of the contest to find a successor to Boris Johnson.
The remaining five candidates had a series of bad-tempered exchanges in the latest TV debate last night, with Rishi Sunak accused of plunging Britain into a recession as his rivals turned on him one by one to attack his record as chancellor.
He was singled out for criticism by Liz Truss, who is attempting to position herself as the only one who can effectively challenge him on the economy.
- France on high alert as forest blazes rage
- In pictures: Extreme weather torches Europe
- Working in a heatwave: Your rights
- Your essential guide to surviving the heatwave
- Four die while open water swimming
- Highest temperature today: 38.1C in Suffolk
The evening rush hour was thrown into chaos as Britain’s railways buckled under the record-breaking “red-alert” heatwave.
Commuters faced swathes of cancellations and delays at major stations, with huge crowds piling up at London St Pancras, trains axed at most London terminals and hold-ups of more than an hour in Cardiff and Edinburgh.
Some 2,000 services out of 12,800 across the UK were either more than 30 minutes late or axed entirely on Monday, official figures seen by The Telegraph show. Just 67 per cent were within ten minutes of being on time.
Meanwhile, 11 out of London’s 15 Tube lines faced minor or severe delays or suspensions from 6pm.
All flights were halted for two hours at London Luton Airport after a “runway defect” in the sweltering weather, sparking delays of up to four hours and diversions to Stansted.
Flights at RAF Brize Norton, the RAF’s largest air base, were also grounded after the Tarmac melted.
Britain’s hottest day of the year saw 38.1C recorded in Suffolk, and forecasters are predicting up to 43C on Tuesday, which would be an all-time UK record.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, sacked the head of the country’s secret service and its chief prosecutor over collaboration with the Russians alleged to have taken place in their departments. As Moscow stepped up shelling across Ukraine, Mr Zelensky fired Ivan Bakanov, the head of the powerful domestic security agency, and Iryna Venediktova, the prosecutor general. James Kilner reports on the cases of treason. It came as fresh missile attacks were reported in Kharkiv.
UK heatwave: Record highs, travel chaos, schools close … and it’s going to get hotter
After a day when runways melted, railway lines buckled and even lidos were out of bounds, weather forecasters delivered the news some people will be dreading – Tuesday will be even hotter.
Some regions of the UK experienced their highest temperatures on record on Monday as the heatwave caused disruption to travel, schools, hospitals and workplaces across much of the country. Read the full story.
Prince Charles: ‘Record temperatures’ prove I’m right about climate change
The Prince of Wales said on Monday that the “alarming, record temperatures” had proved him right on the climate change “emergency”.
Prince Charles has waged a decades-long campaign on the environment but has frequently expressed frustration that it has prompted little change. Read the full story.
Boris Johnson’s Government survives confidence vote to give him seven more weeks in Downing Street
Boris Johnson survived a confidence vote in his Government on Monday, giving him seven more weeks in Downing Street before his successor takes charge.
MPs voted by 349 to 238 in favour of the motion, which was tabled by the Government as a response to a Labour attempt last week to hold another vote on Mr Johnson. Read the full story.
Liz Truss has moved into prime position to reach the last two in the Tory leadership contest after closing the gap on Penny Mordaunt.
The Foreign Secretary is seeking to win over supporters of Kemi Badenoch, her main rival on the Right of the party, who was knocked out of the race.
Rishi Sunak, the ex-chancellor, seems all but certain to reach the final two. In an article for The Telegraph, Ms Truss hints at possible Cabinet jobs for newer Tory MPs like Mrs Badenoch as she promises a “government of all the talents”.
Getting tough | France and Germany have piled pressure on Brussels to take a hard line over the Northern Ireland Protocol with the UK’s next prime minister. Paris and Berlin have warned the European Commission that EU member states will not agree to any concessions granted to whoever replaces Boris Johnson as Tory leader. Their tough approach heightens the risk of a trade war breaking out this autumn.
Around the world: Ayatollah to strengthen Russia ties
Iran’s supreme leader has called for strengthened long-term co-operation with Vladimir Putin, as the Russian president made his second overseas trip since his forces invaded Ukraine. Campbell MacDiarmid reports how Mr Putin received a red carpet welcome in Tehran, which, like Moscow, is suffering under Western sanctions. In his analysis, Con Coughlin outlines the common cause of this “unholy alliance”.
Tory leadership races are rarely known for their gentility. Yet due to a toxic combination of factors, including some personal animosity between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, Associate Editor Gordon Rayner suggests we’re gearing up for the “nastiest” battle in the party’s history.
|Inside Truss and Sunak’s battle to be PM: ‘It’s got nasty because the race is so tight.’
A combination of ingredients, including a disconnect between MPs and party members, a win or bust scenario for both contenders and personal animosity between them, have cooked up a noxious stew that will be brought to the boil over the next six weeks.
Ms Truss, aware of her own shortcomings, has already felt the need to say she is not the slickest performer. Without the charisma of a Boris Johnson or even a Rory Stewart, she has no choice but to attack her opponent’s record and compare his policies to socialism.
One source in the Truss camp said: “Both of them have quite a few problems when it comes to winning over the membership.
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Liz Truss: I’m the insurgent candidate in the Tory leadership race
Unlike Rishi Sunak, the moment Liz Truss found out she had made the final two in the race to be the next prime minister was not captured on camera and released. But by the sounds of it, the celebrations were no less restrained than her rival’s fist pump and cheer.
“I yelped with delight,” recalled the Foreign Secretary, looking back to 4pm on Wednesday. “There was lots of hugging and back-slapping.” Someone opened the chilled white wine. A celebratory photograph of the team was taken. Then more cheer on the House of Commons terrace. Read the full story.
Liz Truss demands France resolves ‘entirely avoidable and unacceptable’ chaos in Dover
Liz Truss has told France it must stop the “avoidable and unacceptable” situation at the border that threatens to ruin British summer holidays.
The Foreign Secretary blamed the “awful situation” at Dover, where ferry passengers were on Friday left stuck in six-hour queues, squarely on Paris for failing to man border posts. Read the full story.
Rishi Sunak vows to cap refugee numbers under ‘common sense’ asylum system
Rishi Sunak vows to introduce a cap on refugee numbers if he becomes prime minister, as he promises to “inject a healthy dose of common sense” into the asylum system.
Laying out a 10-point plan to secure Britain’s borders if he wins the Tory leadership contest on Sunday, the former chancellor also promises to curb the power of the European Court of Human Rights; withhold aid money if countries refuse to take back failed asylum seekers and criminals; and use cruise ships to house illegal migrants. Read the full story.