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