Tories turn toxic on immigration – how low will this debate go?



Welcome to Monday’s Early Edition from i.

It didn’t take long for things to get nasty. A new battleground emerged over the weekend in the race to become the next Prime Minister – and it revolves around borders. Their stances have led both candidates to be accused of “cruelty and immorality” and calls from within the party to tone it down. Asked whether the candidates will limit their attacks on each another, a Tory backbencher told i: “I really hope so. We can’t just have a summer where the two of them are kicking lumps out of each other.” As they prepare for the first head-to-head debate tonight, we’ll look at what they’ve said, and why it’s causing so much controversy.

Today’s news, and why it matters

Holidaymakers are being told to prepare for queues at Dover and Folkestone for the rest of the summer amid surging demand and more border checks. Local authorities are facing another “red” situation next weekend, according to one body that oversees the response to delays. Ministers are also being called on to treat the issue as a “national problem”.

Police are investigating evidence that paedophiles are using drones to watch and record children at school, after receiving reports of more than 300 suspicious flights in the last two years, i can reveal. The problem is part of a wider rapid increase in the use of quadcopters by criminals for offences from burglary to voyeurism.

The “greatest workforce crisis” facing the NHS is putting patients at serious risk of harm, MPs have warned. The cross-party Commons health and social care select committee includes evidence showing that the staffing crisis in the NHS in England is even worse than official figures suggest, and criticises the “absence of a credible government strategy” on understaffing.

The 40°C heatwave pushed the UK grid to the brink of blackouts, with electricity demand close to outstripping supply, it has emerged. Searing temperatures caused cables to swell and power stations to struggle, almost sparking widespread power cuts.

A major incident was declared on Sunday as firefighters battled large blazes around London and Surrey. A huge wildfire broke out on Hankley Common, while a blaze in Hayes could be seen across west London. And another in Enfield was the size of four football pitches.

Truss v Sunak on immigration:

  1. Rishi Sunak has published a 10-point plan on how to “take back control of our borders”, including a cap on the number of refugees that could enter the country. He said he would remove the obstacles currently besetting the controversial Rwanda policy, and establish a new Small Boats Taskforce to deal with the Channel crossings. The plans also included the possibility of housing refugees and other migrants in cruise ships instead of hotels. He said: “Right now the system is chaotic, with law-abiding citizens seeing boats full of illegal immigrants coming from the safe country of France with our sailors and coastguards seemingly powerless to stop them.” 
  2. Liz Truss said she would seek to hammer out more “third country processing partnerships” with other nations, such as the one in place with Rwanda. She will also increase the Border Force staff by 20 per cent, adding 2,000 more workers that her campaign team says will double the amount of patrols in the Channel. She also vowed to strengthen the Bill of Rights legislation, adding she would consider reforming the European Convention on Human Rights. She said: “As prime minister, I am determined to see the Rwanda policy through to full implementation as well as exploring other countries where we can work on similar partnerships.” 
  3. Both plans have faced strong criticism. The Truss camp has suggested Sunak’s cruise ship plans could be a breach of domestic and international law. That’s when we already know that the Rwanda plan, touted by both candidates, has already been described as a breach of international law by the UN. Oxfam has said any plan that links UK aid payments to countries’ co-operation with immigration is “cruel”. “To meet a world in desperate crisis – facing climate change, famine and conflict – with cruel policies such as these would not live up to the role. We need more aid and safe and legal routes to the UK,” Sam Nadel, Oxfam’s head of government relations, said. Amnesty International said the “dreadful” pledges would come at “great human and financial cost”. And the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said their plans would “expand the hostile environment and ramp up the brutalisation of refugees for political point-scoring. Their plans will only destroy more lives and tear more families apart.” 
The bitter war of words has intensified during the leadership race between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak (PA)

Around the world

Just eight months ago, opinion polls showed Kamala Harris’ popularity had waned to a record low of 28 per cent. Today, her attempted clawback is under way. Thirty-nine per cent of the public now offer a favorable view of her, and while the numbers are still deeply challenging, the Harris team glimpses a path to salvation.

Ukraine has asked Kherson residents for a self-imposed news blackout as a key counteroffensive, which could be one of the bloodiest battles of the war, looms. Kherson city, which was seized in the early days of the war by Russian troops, is widely regarded as a key target for sides.

Japan’s Sakurajima volcano has erupted, prompting a level 5 alert – the highest alert – calling for people to evacuate their homes. Footage showed a cloud of smoke or ash rising from the volcano.

A 75-mile-long mirror-clad skyscraper will house five million people in the Saudi desert, its own high-speed railway, a sports stadium and vertical gardens where vegetables are harvested by robots. At least, that’s according to the plans. The building, which would have to “bend” to the curvature of the Earth, could take 50 years to construct.

A chess robot has grabbed and broken to the finger of a seven-year-old opponent during at match at the Moscow Open, Russian outlets said. “The robot broke the child’s finger,” Sergey Lazarev, president of the Moscow Chess Federation, said. “This is of course bad.”

Watch out for…

the first debate between Tory leadership rivals will go ahead at 9pm BST on the BBC, in front of an audience of around 100 people. Bring the popcorn, and the sick bucket.  

Thoughts for the day

Blame the French if you want, but it won’t change the Dover travel chaos that Brexit has caused, argues Stefano Hatfield. The outrage over the suggestion that queues are down to leaving the EU is disingenuous

Boris Johnson’s delusional hope for a political comeback is right out of the Donald Trump playbook, says Ian Birrell. Johnson has behaved in his usual bumptious style, seeing himself as a wronged hero.

I’ve spent a lifetime being mistaken for other Black women, and I won’t be laughing it off anymore, writes Charlene White. I was mistaken for my co-presenter Brenda Edwards five times at one event. Enough is enough, she says.

Charlene White: ‘I can give you examples of numerous occasions when it’s happened to those of us who have careers on-screen’ (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty)

Culture Break

‘Men pretend Me Too is confusing, but it’s really easy to not grope anyone,’ says Rafe Spall. The actor talks about why success doesn’t fix your insecurities, toxic masculinity – and how he wishes he was a more present father.

Rafe Spall: ‘My sons’ idea of what a man is will be defined by me. It’s a lot of pressure’ (Photo: Jake Chessum/Apple)

The Big Read

Instead of cutting fuel duty, could the UK make public transport free? Spain, Germany and Austria are all offering hefty discounts on public transport – why isn’t the UK following suit? Madeleine Cuff takes a look.

Spain, Germany, Italy and Austria are taking radical action to tackle the cost of living crisis. Should the UK follow suit? (Photo: James French/Getty)


‘Defectors like Sergio Garcia are trying to take down the whole tour – it’s not right’. An anonymous player who has won on the DP World Tour and represented Europe in the Ryder Cup speaks to Kevin Garside about the ‘all-out war’ tearing golf apart.

Sergio Garcia has vowed to quit the DP Tour (Photo: Gerald Herbet/AP)

Something to brighten your day

Dogs and their owners had a “barking brilliant day” at a surfing championship in Dorset. Pups helped make waves at the annual event by riding on top of the paddleboards – although the show was stolen by some of the more unusual outfits sported by the owners. One dressed up as the Queen, while another was pictured paddling in a Scooby Doo onesie.

A competitor dressed as Scooby Doo and their dog warm up before the racing (Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

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