Wednesday evening UK news briefing: Tories brace for ‘nastiest’ leadership campaign in party’s history

Wednesday evening UK news briefing: Tories brace for ‘nastiest’ leadership campaign in party’s history

Evening briefing: Today’s essential headlines

Heatwave fires | A compost fire burnt out of control and devastated a village on Britain’s hottest day, despite starting in a garden backing onto the local fire station. Read how local crews were out on another call as the flames ripped through the community on London Fire Brigade’s busiest day since the Second World War. This gallery shows the scenes of devastation. Protesters from Just Stop Oil climbed motorway signs on the M25, causing disruption in response to the extreme temperatures and what they describe as “inadequate preparations” for climate change.

The big story: Sunak and Truss reach final stage

In the end, it could have been swung if only five MPs voted another way.

Rishi Sunak will face Liz Truss in the ballot of party members to become the next leader of the Conservative Party and Britain’s next prime minister.

The last vote among MPs to decide the final two delivered an agonising result for Penny Mordaunt, the early favourite, who dropped out of the race after receiving the backing of 105 MPs to 113 for Ms Truss. 

Around 200,000 Tory members will now vote during the next six weeks as the final two campaign across the country.

Here is a summary of what happens next

Ms Mordaunt now joins more than half a dozen other would-be prime ministers on the sidelines wondering what happens next. 

Nick Gutteridge analyses all the candidates and picks out who have been the winners and the losers from the leadership race so far.

Ms Mordaunt said: “Politics isn’t easy. It can be a divisive and difficult place. 

“We must all now work together to unify our party and focus on the job.” 

Yet with the contenders whittled down to the final two, the Tories look set to enter the “nastiest” leadership campaign in the party’s history

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. 

Associate editor Gordon Rayner analyses why this will be a race where each candidate will be left with no choice but to attack the other’s record in Government.

The candidates

Mr Sunak, the former chancellor whose resignation hastened the fall of Boris Johnson, cemented his place as the leading candidate among MPs after securing 137 backers. 

Yet that now means nothing as he appeals for the backing of Tory members, who now have the final say on whether he or Ms Truss will become the next prime minister. 

Read on for a summary of why each candidate is running – and which MPs supported them

The BBC will broadcast a live TV debate next week

It may prove crucial amid concerns that Mr Sunak’s campaign could be damaged by Conservative Campaign Headquarters’ decision to send out the ballot papers early next month, before the bulk of the hustings have been held.

‘Hasta la vista, baby’

Mr Johnson hinted at a return to the political front line as he said farewell to Tory MPs with the phrase “hasta la vista, baby”. 

Appearing at Prime Minister’s Questions for the last time, Mr Johnson summed up his career as “mission largely accomplished – for now”. 

He also took what was perceived as a sideswipe at Mr Sunak, his former chancellor, when he advised his eventual successor that it was important not to always listen to the Treasury. 

Watch as he signed off from the Commons’ despatch box by quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger, while Theresa May refused to clap for her successor in the chamber. 

Sam Ashworth-Hayes says the Prime Minister was a master of the Commons and we will not see his like again

Madeline Grant has this sketch of the political judgment day for Mr Johnson, and the sign that he would be back.

Comment and analysis

Around the world: Invasion ‘no longer just in Donbas’

Russia has threatened to wage war across Ukraine if the West delivers long-range weapons to Kyiv. Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said the geographical objectives of Moscow’s “special military operation” are no longer limited to the eastern Donbas region. It comes as a 13-year-old boy was among three victims killed by a Russian strike on a bus station in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, a local official said on Wednesday. Harrowing footage shared from the scene of the deadly attack showed a man holding the hand of the teenager as the boy’s lifeless body was covered by a tarpaulin. The conflict has led to Brussels urging Europeans to switch off the lights and turn down their air conditioning this summer amid growing fears of a “likely” cutoff of Russian gas supplies.

Wednesday big-read

Warren Gatland picks his 23-man Lions squad

The former Lions coach still turns over in his head some of his previous picks for Lions Tests. He outlines who would be in his squad if he was making selections today – and some of his choices may surprise you

Read the full story

Sport briefing: Stenson loses Ryder Cup captaincy

Henrik Stenson has been stripped of his Ryder Cup captaincy after becoming the latest capture for the Saudi rebel circuit. The 46-year-old’s dramatic U-turn sends shockwaves throughout the sport and is a huge coup for the LIV Golf Series. Stenson, the 2016 Open champion and former world No 2, is now down in 171st in the rankings, without a title in almost three years and his best days are clearly in the past. But his move to the Greg Norman enterprise shows that LIV has the ammunition to convince players to join even from the most unreachable places. In football, Leicester are the only club in the Premier League yet to make a signing this summer – and they have to sell players before they can buy. John Percy reveals why their transfer plans have been paralysed.

Editor’s choice

  1. Holiday savings | The UK’s biggest summer rip-offs – and their affordable alternatives
  2. Comedy in the darkest places | The only man to write a funny book about the Third Reich
  3. Nissan Juke review | There are only a few reasons why you’d want to buy this hybrid

Business briefing: Why inflation will hit house prices

Inflation soared to a new 40-year high of 9.4pc in June – and this brings a dangerous triple whammy for house prices. Plunging real wages are hitting buyers and homeowners’ pockets just as high inflation pushes the Bank of England to raise interest rates, which when combined, has reduced people’s ability to afford a mortgage. Melissa Lawford analyses the reasons why inflation will be a disaster for house prices. Read on for the dangerous signs that price rises are here to stay, although, not all is lost. Take a look at the “golden villages” where homeowners are protected from a house price crash. Pensioners’ incomes have fallen by £589 over the past year in real terms with prices increasing three times faster than the state pension. Here are three things you must do today to beat inflation and read on for five ways to protect your wealth.

Tonight starts now

Women’s Euro 2022 | England’s Women take on Spain in the first quarter final tonight and although Spain have an excellent team, the Lionnesses are the form side and the favourites. Coverage begins on BBC One from 7.30pm. Emma Hayes outlines where the quarter-finals will be won and lost – and who will make the semis. For months, Chelsea defender Millie Bright has meticulously tracked her menstrual cycle to make better informed decisions around her training. Fiona Tomas examines how period power is the secret to England’s campaign.

Three things for you

And finally… for this evening’s downtime

Are phones ruining live music? | Bob Dylan has banned them; Charlie XCX and Billie Eilish positively encourage them. Ed Power examines if gig-goers will ever be able to give up their phones.

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