Newspaper headlines: Brussels keeps PM ‘guessing’ and ‘Rogue One’


FT front page

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Thursday’s papers focus on the new Brexit proposals the government has delivered to the EU, including plans to replace the Irish backstop. The Financial Times reports the plans have won plaudits from Eurosceptics, but serious doubts remain about whether it could unlock a new deal with the EU.

Daily Telegraph front page

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For the Daily Telegraph the prime minister has put Ireland under “huge pressure” to accept the proposals after Labour rebels suggested they were prepared to help Mr Johnson get a deal through Parliament. The paper says Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar, is now the main obstacle standing in the way of the UK leaving with a deal on 31 October.

The Times front page

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The prime minister’s chances of a new Brexit deal were “hanging by a thread” on Wednesday night after EU leaders withheld approval for formal negotiations on his plans to replace the Irish backstop, the Times reports. The paper notes that Mr Johnson set out proposals that would in effect keep Northern Ireland in the EU single market for all goods while following UK customs rules.

Guardian front page

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However, the Guardian says the UK appears to be fighting a losing battle to avoid staying in the EU beyond its Brexit deadline of 31 October, with the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said to be privately scathing of the prime minister’s new plan for the Irish border. Despite concerted efforts to avoid publicly trashing the proposals, the plans were met with dismay behind the scenes, the paper adds.

Metro front page

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“Dear Jean, Here’s How I Leave EU,” puns the Metro, referring to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. The paper notes that in his “break-up” letter to the EU Mr Johnson says: “Our predecessors have tackled far harder problems – we can surely solve this one.”

Daily Express

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“Brexit: Is this the beginning of the end?” the Daily Express asks in its front-page headline. According to the paper, the prime minister was edging towards a Brexit “breakthrough” as of Wednesday night.

Daily Mirror front page

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The Daily Mirror chooses to focus on the prime minister’s speech on Wednesday at the Tory Party conference in Manchester, describing it as “all prattle and no policy”. Hopes for a new deal with the EU “don’t look great”, the paper adds, according to officials quoted on the front page.

The Daily Mail front page

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The Daily Mail reports that police watchdogs are to investigate the Met Police over its handling of a VIP paedophile operation. It follows false allegations of murder and child sexual abuse made by Carl Beech, known as “Nick”, who was jailed for 18 years in July for the claims.

The Sun front page

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The Sun is one of the few papers to lead on non-political news, claiming that Prince Harry went “rogue” when he criticised parts of the press for its treatment of his wife, Meghan. The paper reports that he apparently refused to consult his father, Prince Charles and brother, Prince William, before writing the complaint.

Daily Star front page

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And finally, the Daily Star leads on a report that Coronation Street star Jack P Shepherd has told how his mental health suffered and he considered quitting the show after he began losing his hair two years ago.

Many of the European newspapers see little value in the prime minister’s new Brexit plan.

The Irish Times concludes it is “unrealistic and unworkable”.

The Dublin-based paper says the proposals either reflect an “extraordinary ignorance of Northern Ireland or a willingness to risk the Belfast Agreement”.

The Irish Independent also fears it could threaten the peace process, concluding it “asks too much and delivers far too little”.

German daily Die Zeit urges the EU not to accept what it calls Boris Johnson’s “poisoned offer”, suggesting the prime minister is not interested in solutions and instead wants to confuse people.

French newspaper Le Monde insists the current proposal would be very difficult for Brussels and Dublin to accept, while the Spanish El Pais calls the plan “complex and disjointed”.

It suggests the UK should be able to leave Europe without creating breeding grounds which revive terrorism from the past.

However, in the event the EU does reject Mr Johnson’s Brexit proposals, the prime minister’s senior aides have ordered Conservative MPs to call the bloc “crazy”, according to an internal memo leaked to BuzzFeed News.

Domestically, many of Thursday’s front pages weigh in on the chances of the government’s new Brexit proposals leading to a new deal with the EU.

The Daily Express is confident the prime minister is “edging towards a breakthrough”, while the Daily Telegraph suggests he’s placing Ireland under “huge pressure” to accept his plan.

But the Financial Times says his proposal “faces a frosty reception in Brussels”, with the Guardian reporting that the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has been “scathing” in private.

The i insists that the EU is ready to reject the scheme.

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Getty Images

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Boris Johnson’s speech on Wednesday at the Conservative Party conference receives mixed reviews in the paper

Elsewhere, the prime minister’s showcase speech on Wednesday at the Conservative Party conference receives mixed reviews.

“Is that it?” asks the Daily Mirror on its front page, which dismisses his talk as “vacuous” and without “a shred of policy”.

Martin Kettle in the Guardian suggests it could have been cobbled together over breakfast, with no mention of the climate, migration or terrorism.

But the Daily Express calls it the “mother of all speeches”, with a reference to the revelation that Mr Johnson’s mother voted Leave, while the Sun says it was “a joke-packed rallying call about optimism and… believing in Britain”.

Breastfeeding for the environment

In other news, the Daily Mail has spoken to the American businesswoman Jennifer Accuri, who is alleged to have received favourable treatment due to her friendship with Boris Johnson.

She dismisses all the claims and tells the paper that she’s being used as “collateral”.

Miss Accuri said she had every right to be on the UK trade missions, as a legitimate businesswoman.

The Daily Telegraph says scientists are offering a new reason to support breastfeeding – to help save the environment.

Experts from Imperial College in London say formula milk produces greenhouse gases from cows, extra packaging and uses electricity and water when the bottles are cleaned.

The Times says the study reveals that if all mothers in the UK breastfed their babies until they were six months it would equate to taking up to 77,000 cars off the road each year.

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Many of the papers also celebrate Dina Asher-Smith making athletics history

Many of the papers also celebrate Dina Asher-Smith making athletics history by becoming the first British woman to win a world championship 200m final.

The Telegraph calls her “sprint queen of the world”.

The Olympic Gold Medallist, Darren Campbell, explains in the Times why she is so good – that she explodes out of the blocks, prepares well, is relaxed and deals well with the mind games.

The Mail pays credit to her mother’s influence who offered her prizes, such as a Chanel handbag, as she hit certain targets.

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The Sun focuses on what it calls the “Prince’s Press Rant”

You might have expected the young strutting Mick Jagger to have focused only on rock and roll.

But, according to the Sun, the Rolling Stones’ frontman’s former accountant says he had been planning for his retirement from the early days.

Laurence Myers says Sir Mick had suggested years ago that he should think about pensions because he reasoned “I won’t be singing… at 60.”

Sir Mick is now 76 and is currently on tour in North America with his band.

The Sun, meanwhile, focuses on what it calls the “Prince’s Press Rant”.

The paper says Prince Harry didn’t consult his father or brother before criticising media coverage of his wife.

The Times suggests he went against the advice of senior royal aides on the timing of his statement.

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