What the papers say – July 20

The front pages are dominated by apocalyptic scenes of homes going up in flames on ‘the day Britain burned’.

19 July 2022

Britain’s record temperature of 40.3 which caused a huge surge in fires on Tuesday is the focus of today’s papers.

Climate scientists call the the historic temperature reading a “wake-up call” in The Guardian‘s splash which includes experts calculating that “close to 1,000 people are likely to die as a result of the current hot spell”.

“The day Britain burned,” declares The Independent, featuring an image of homes completely alight. The paper adds that 22 wildfires broke out within the space of a few hours yesterday.

Metro, The Sun, the Daily Mirror, and the i carry similar scenes of homes engulfed by flames, accompanied by the respective headlines: “Burning hot Britain”, “Hellfire”, “Britain’s burning” and “Tinderbox UK ignites at record 40.3°C.”

“Britain ignites as temperatures break 40C barrier for first time”, The Daily Telegraph adds, with a specialist in wildfire operations telling the paper the current level of fire severity across the country was “rare, or possibly unprecedented” and that climate change meant these conditions would happen “more and more”.

Elsewhere, the Daily Express, the Daily Mail and The Times continue to cover the race for Tory leadership, reporting Liz Truss is increasingly confident of beating Penny Mordaunt in the race for the final two after surging to within touching distance of her rival.

The Daily Star, meanwhile, compares Brits sleep deprived by the sweltering hot nights to “zombies”‘.

And the Financial Times writes the Bank of England governor has said a half-point interest rate rise is “on the table” in a bid to return the UK’s 40-year high inflation rate to the central bank’s 2% target.

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