Huw Edwards told Lord Austin to ‘give it a rest’ in a Twitter spat after he blasted the BBC for ‘overdoing the weather’.
The veteran broadcaster took to Twitter to tell the Labour peer that News at Ten viewers are ‘far more exercised by climate change and the extreme temperatures’ than the Tory leadership race on Monday night.
Lord Austin wrote: ‘BBC News at 10 is slightly overdoing the weather. The first 23 minutes have been devoted to the heat, before we got on to the trivial and unimportant issue of who might end up running the country!’
Edwards quipped back: ‘Oh give it a rest. They’re still on 4 candidates and we’re 7 weeks from a result. Meanwhile viewers are telling us they’re FAR more exercised by climate change and the weather extremes. Go figure.’
It comes as temperatures hit an unprecedented 40.2C (104.4F) at London Heathrow Airport at 12.50pm this afternoon – causing ferocious wildfires to break out across southern England today.
Huw Edwards told Lord Austin to ‘give it a rest’ in a Twitter spat after he blasted the BBC for ‘overdoing the weather
The veteran broadcaster took to Twitter to tell the Labour peer (pictured) that News at Ten viewers are ‘far more exercised by climate change and the extreme temperatures’ than the Tory leadership race
Lord Austin replied: ‘Steady on. I didn’t say it wasn’t a big story or that it shouldn’t lead the news. And I didn’t question whether climate change is a serious issue.
‘I just gently wondered whether devoting 23 minutes of a bulletin that lasts less than half an hour might be ‘slightly overdoing it’.
‘What’s interesting about this, though, is how the BBC (an institution I have defended countless times in Parliament) responds to even the slightest criticism or question.’.
Edwards added: ”Gently wondered’, eh? Well now if ‘before we got on to the trivial and unimportant issue of who might end up running the country!’ is gently wondering, I begin to wonder how you might deploy patronising sarcasm. My Lord.’
What’s interesting about this, though, is how the BBC (an institution I have defended countless times in Parliament) responds to even the slightest criticism or question.
Meanwhile, firefighters have described blazes tearing through homes and buildings in London as ‘absolute hell’ – with residents evacuated after at last five houses were destroyed, two people taken to hospital for smoke inhalation, and 1,600 calls for assistance.
Elsewhere in the country hundreds of fire crews are out battling raging infernos in Wales, Scotland and the rest of England as ‘tinderbox’ dry conditions in the UK caused wildfires to threaten homes, animals and people.
A huge grass blaze broke out in Wennington, East London, this afternoon and appeared to have destroyed this house (centre)
A fire burns the Walnut Tree area of Milton Keynes today as blazes take hold of areas across England
Fire services in London, Hertfordshire, and Leicestershire declared major incidents as they were hit with tens of thousands of calls meaning automatic fire alarms will not prompt a response and people are asked to refrain from calling unless it’s an emergency.
At least 34 parts of the country broke the UK’s previous national record of 38.7C today, the Met Office said with the new national record set by Coningsby, Lincolnshire which hit an unprecedented 40.3C (104.54) while London Heathrow also saw highs of 40.2C (104.4F).
Scotland also recorded its hottest day ever as temperatures climbed to 34.8C (94.64) at Charterhall and Wales might beat its new record set yesterday of 37.1C in Hawarden, Flintshire.
The extreme heat has been caused by a plume of hot air from north Africa and the Sahara and an ‘Azores High’ subtropical pressure system creeping further north than usual – which experts say is a result of climate change.
A row of houses is on fire in the village of Wennington in East London this afternoon as temperatures soar again today
Around 100 firefighters are tackling a blaze in the village of Wennington this afternoon as the heatwave continues
Forecasters said an absolute maximum of 43C (109F) is possible later on – and the highs in England are equal to the warmest spots anywhere in Europe today. The UK is also hotter than Jamaica, the Maldives and Barbados.
The ‘extreme heat’ also led to almost 15,000 homes in the North East being left without power at about 2pm as electrical equipment overheated during the record temperatures.
Roads have also been closed as fires broke out on the major motorways including the M25 and M1 today due to wildfires and vehicle blazes.
Around 100 firefighters are tackling a blaze in the village of Wennington in East London today as the heatwave continues
In Charlwood, Surrey, beat the previous all-time UK high of 38.7C (101.7F) in Cambridge in July 2019. In third place is 38.5C (101.3F) in Kent in August 2003, and 38.1C (100.6F) in Suffolk yesterday is fourth.
Elsewhere in England this afternoon, by lunchtime the mercury had got up to 39.9C (103.8F) at Charlwood, 39.6C (103.3F) at Kew Gardens in West London, 39.3C (102.7F) at Wisley in Surrey, and 39.2C (102.6F) at both Chertsey in Surrey and Northolt in West London – with all of these readings also beating the all-time UK high from 2019.
The UK is also being warned these temperatures could soon be the ‘new normal’ as Britain starts to see wildfires, extreme heat and pressure on the water supply which has long plagued Europe.