‘Meltdown Monday’ and ‘Blowtorch Britain’: what the papers say about UK heatwave

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The Guardian

“Red alert: ‘ferocious’ heatwave set to send temperatures beyond 40C” – the Guardian leads with the weather and a picture of firefighters on duty in France. The Conservative party’s TV bloodletting is wrapped up as well: “Tory leadership debate exposes deep divisions”. The intro says it was a “bad-tempered” show.

“Blowtorch Britain” says the Mirror, as “42C record heat is on”. The “revellers” shown jumping into the sea at Brighton look happy enough to brave the conditions.

The Metro alliterates also with “Meltdown Monday” while the leadership debate is handled cleverly with a picture of the contenders flanking their moderator, Julie Etchingham – the overlaid headline is “Who is the weakest Tory link?”.

The Telegraph couldn’t decide between “heatwave” or “meltdown” thus throws together “Heatwave meltdown brings UK to a halt”. In debate coverage, all guns are trained on the ex-chancellor: “Rivals accuse Sunak of leading country into recession”.

It’s hot as well on the surface of the Sun. “Hotter than the Sahara” in fact. “And India … and Pakistan … and Algeria … and Ethiopia” though presumably not all added together. The strap across the top of an aerial beach pic is “Super scorchio” and the paper predicts “Beaches full as offices and schools shut”.

Others use the weather for their front-page pic, but splash on the Tory leadership. Strongest wording is probably in the Times, which has “Sunak attacks ‘socialist’ Truss”. The paper calls last night’s debate a “bitter TV clash”. On the heatwave front it has “Schools told to stay open as temperatures climb towards record”.

“Mordaunt and Truss No 10 rivalry ignites” says the i. Whether “ignites” is a weather reference is unclear. There’s another beach pic and the furniture says “UK braced for hottest day ever as heatwave hits”.

Penny Mordaunt called for an end to “toxic smears” … but the Express says “No chance! Race for No 10 gets personal”. And somewhat typically of this paper, there is a plea to rally together as Britons today whatever the risks posed by the heat: “It’s not the end of the world! Just stay cool and carry on …”

On the Daily Mail’s front, the attack line du jour takes precedence over immediate coverage of the debate: “Mordaunt flouted No 10 ban to meet boycotted group”. Picture-wise it jumps on the now-confirmed nuptials of Batfleck and J-Lo.

Also-ran Nadhim Zahawi (the chancellor) anchors the Financial Times’ top story today: “Battle looms over plans for City shake-up to prime ‘Big Bang 2.0’”. For the pic, it’s Brighton beach again and an unflattering allusion to skin tone – “Beyond the pale: health alerts for record heat”.

July 18, 2022 at 07:57AM Guardian staff

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