The Papers: ‘PM slams brakes’ amid ‘second wave risk’

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The i weekend front page 1 August

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Dominating the i weekend’s front page is a picture of crowds packed onto a beach as temperatures soared on Friday. But its headline is a stark warning: “Not so fast: UK infections rising again.” The paper is one of several to lead with Boris Johnson putting the brakes on the easing of lockdown restrictions in England for at least two weeks following a spike in coronavirus cases. The paper adds that more police will enforce the wearing of masks as employees are encouraged to return to work.

The Daily Telegraph front page 1 August

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The PM said it was right to heed the “warning light on the dashboard” amid concerns of a second wave, the Daily Telegraph notes. Wedding receptions of up to 30 people and the reopening of casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks would not be allowed for at least two weeks, the paper adds.

The Times front page 1 August

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Mr Johnson has “readied” the country for an autumn without seeing friends or family, the Times reports, as England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty said on Friday the country had “reached the limits” of reopening. The PM has warned of “trade offs” ahead, the paper adds, with the return of school pupils a priority, while freedoms in other areas are “conditional”.

The Daily Mail front page 1 August

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Carrying an even starker warning, the Daily Mail leads with: “Get set to lose more freedom.” Describing the Downing Street press conference as “gloomy”, the paper notes that the announcement came hours before a swathe of businesses were due to reopen.

FT Weekend front page 1 August

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The announcement is described by the British Chambers of Commerce as a “hammer blow” to business, the FT Weekend reports. The paper adds that economic data has highlighted the “devastating” cost of lockdowns, with GDP falling and economies shrinking.

The Guardian front page 1 August

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The Guardian reports newly released court documents claim convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein allegedly tried to gather incriminating material against Prince Andrew by forcing an underage girl to have sex with the royal. A friend of the Duke of York has said “allegations are not the same as facts” and the claims should be treated with “extreme caution”.

Daily Mirror front page 1 August

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“Lockdown meltdown,” is the headline on the front page of the Daily Mirror, as the short notice given to hospitality outlets was labelled “shambolic” by acting Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey.

The Daily Express front page 1 August

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The Daily Express also leads with the PM’s announcement, calling Mr Johnson’s news “tough love” as he suggested he could deploy the “nuclear” measure of a full national lockdown if people do not obey the rules.

The Daily Star front page 1 August

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Elsewhere, the Daily Star leads with a report that an expert has predicted the new mission to Mars will find alien life, but warns that such extraterrestrial life might “bring back a virus” to Earth.

“Follow the rules to avoid a second national lockdown,” is the warning from the prime minister on the front of the Guardian.

It says Boris Johnson’s “stark assessment” now “raises questions” about what might have to be restricted to allow schools to reopen.

In its coverage, the Times says privately No 10 realises that “reducing the freedom of households to socialise” may be the trade off to get pupils in the classroom.

But in its leader, the Sun says the government is in “danger of over-reaction” – because it points out the country was initially only locked down to flatten the curve of new cases, not eliminate them.

The Daily Telegraph reports on what it calls the “36 hours that forced Mr Johnson to put the brakes on”.

A senior cabinet source says the “clincher” for the northern England restrictions and pausing of the lockdown easing was based on Office for National Statistics infection data that made for “grim reading”.

A Labour MP who was reportedly on the conference call to outline the northern restrictions says Tory colleagues in red wall seats were “apoplectic” with one said to have been “screaming his head off” at the U-turn.

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EPA

“Dozy duo slip again” is the Daily Star’s assessment of Mr Johnson and Matt Hancock’s handling of the re-imposition of lockdown restrictions in northern England.

Its leader says announcing the change on Twitter and giving people a couple of hours’ notice was incompetent and has left the government “looking like fools”.

‘Bar brawl’

“Shaming of the guard,” is the Daily Mail’s headline on its exclusive about a reported “bar brawl” involving the Coldstream Guards and the Queen’s footmen.

The paper says the “full-scale punch up” took place just minutes away from Buckingham Palace last Friday.

Three of the guards, who are famous for their red jackets and bearskin hats, are understood to have been questioned by police about the incident.

The Mail says the Queen was made aware of the attack and sent her best wishes to the four footmen who were injured.

The Daily Mirror editorial leads the criticism of the government’s decision to nominate 36 people for peerages.

The list includes Mr Johnson’s brother, Jo, and the former England cricket captain Sir Ian Botham.

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Reuters

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Former England cricket captain Sir Ian Botham is among those to be nominated for a peerage

The Mirror says the UK should be “ashamed” of a system that allows people to help shape laws “because they are rich or a pal of a party leader”.

The Spectator says Evgeny Lebedev’s nomination also “probably wasn’t the wisest pick” – especially if in the wake of the Russia report, Mr Johnson was trying to “dispel rumours” that he was “under the shadowy influence” of Russian oligarchs.

And finally, the Daily Express reports on what it calls a “rumpus” after it emerged Marks and Spencer are selling globes for £49 with the Falkland Islands listed under its Argentinian name.

A veteran of the 1982 conflict, Simon Western, says the use of “Islas Malvinas” followed by the Falkland Islands in brackets amounts to “crass stupidity”. MS said the globe – which it deems to be “decorative” – will be reviewed following customer feedback.

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