Friday morning news briefing: Who came out top in Tory hustings

·6 min read
Morning UK news briefing: Today's top headlines from The Telegraph
Morning UK news briefing: Today's top headlines from The Telegraph

Last night's Tory leadership hustings run by The Telegraph drew the biggest audience of the contest so far, as Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss faced a forensic examination.

The final two candidates were grilled on pivotal topics, from the cost-of-living crisis to water shortages, that will shape party members' decisions – and Britain's future.

With time running out for the pair to change the dynamics of the race, Janet Daley, Tim Stanley, Ross Clark and Patrick O'Flynn deliver their verdicts on who came out on top.

Ms Truss is the frontrunner after leading in Tory member polls, but Mr Sunak secured more support from readers in a live online vote during the hustings.

In her sketch, Madeline Grant says the increasingly bitter race for No 10 felt more like a two-horse race.

And associate editor Camilla Tominey, who hosted the event at Cheltenham Racecourse, reveals how the rivals interacted behind the scenes.

During the event, Ms Truss rejected calls to increase the windfall tax on energy companies to fund handouts for households, saying profit was not a "dirty word".

The Foreign Secretary said she was "absolutely" against such taxes and argued it was a policy approach that would be taken by the Labour Party.

Mr Sunak, the former chancellor, accused Ms Truss of irresponsibility over her willingness to borrow more to pay for tax cuts and said he would prioritise helping pensioners and low earners.

He also revealed that Boris Johnson is refusing to answer or return calls from him a month after he resigned from the Cabinet.

Topic by topic, read how the rival candidates faced scrutiny of their plans for leadership.

Drought conditions might last until next year

As water levels in reservoirs across England and Wales dropped to record lows, experts have predicted that drought conditions could last into next year.

An official drought is expected to be declared across the worst-hit areas of southern England today during a meeting between ministers and the water industry, after the region had its driest July since 1836.

The announcement could bring more hosepipe bans and also orders for canals to close to boats. Search by postcode to see restrictions in your area.

Daniel Capurro reports how drivers have been warned not to pull on to verges because of the risk of starting a fire.

PS: For this week's Your View, we asked for your opinion on what should be done to prevent future water shortages. Read some of the responses.

The science behind why you get tired from thinking

A long day at a desk can be just as tiring as manual work and researchers have found why thinking too hard can be so exhausting.

Overworking your brain can lead to it literally poisoning itself, a study has shown, thanks to chemicals released into the prefrontal cortex.

Science correspondent Joe Pinkstone reports on the suggested cure.

Daily dose of Matt

In today's cartoon, Matt finds a gag in the hosepipe bans. For behind-the-scenes insight, sign up to Matt's weekly newsletter.

Also in the news: Today's other headlines

Same energy, different bills | EDF energy customers in this country are paying almost two and a half times as much as their counterparts in France after Emmanuel Macron imposed strict price caps. EDF customers in Britain have had their bills capped at £1,971 by energy regulator Ofgem, while French customers on regulated tariffs face bills of around £803. Helen Cahill explains how the French government has ensured the state-owned supplier can maintain low prices for consumers. Meanwhile, households with smart meters could be moved to prepayment plans without consent if they refuse to pay their bills.

Around the world: Russia's 'worst loss since WW2'

Russia appeared to suffer its biggest loss of aircraft in a single day since the Second World War, as fresh analysis of the explosive strike at an air base in occupied Crimea contradicted Moscow's claim that no jets had been destroyed. Military analysts said a review of new satellite images revealed the full extent of damage. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told officials to stop talking to reporters about Kyiv's military tactics against Russia. The latest is in our live blog.

Satellite imagery shows the destroyed Russian aircraft at Saky air base after explosions - Planet Labs PBC
Satellite imagery shows the destroyed Russian aircraft at Saky air base after explosions - Planet Labs PBC

Comment and analysis

Sport briefing: Rugby chief fights back

World Rugby has hit back in its first public response to the concussion lawsuit brought by former players, casting doubt on the numbers and criticising their tactical recruitment. The sport's global governing body has remained silent on the growing number of ex-players who have taken legal action over an apparent failure to protect them. Alan Gilpin, the World Rugby chief executive, speaks exclusively to Ben Coles.

Editor's choice

  1. Glorious 12th | William Sitwell: With grouse shooting in crisis, what’s a man to do?

  2. Dead air | Ratings are slipping and stars defecting: How BBC radio lost its voice

  3. TikTok | 'Not just a threat to our national security, but endangering children's health'

Business briefing: Sanctions have 'limited impact'

Sanctions imposed on Russian oil have only had a "limited impact" on production despite a concerted effort to isolate Vladimir Putin's regime, experts have warned. Although Russian oil exports to Europe and the US have dropped in the wake of a crackdown, the International Energy Agency said that demand has increased from India, China and Turkey in a switch that blunted the financial impact on the Kremlin.

Tonight's dinner

Stir-fried prawns with sugar-snap peas, basil, chilli and lime | This quick and easy stir fry dish by Diana Henry requires minimal cooking and provides maximum taste.

Gardening: 10 tough perennials to survive a heatwave

If you are looking to give your garden a new lease of life this summer, you will need to consider which plants will cope best in the heat. While there are some that will only perform properly if conditions are perfect, other perennials never let you down. Val Bourne selects her top 10 plants that do not demand special treatment, yet shine for weeks.

And finally... for this morning's downtime

The secret Elvis hangouts of a little known German spa town | Fans might flock to Graceland in Memphis for the 45th anniversary of Elvis's death, but the place The King called home for two years is much closer to home. Sarah Rodrigues visits Bad Nauheim.

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