'Daggers drawn': what the papers say about Boris Johnson's speech

Fight for the leadership of the Conservative party dominates the front pages

The front pages of the newspapers today are dominated by the fight for the leadership of the Conservative party, which kicked up a gear after Boris Johnson’s speech to a fringe event at the party conference.

The prime minister is set to deliver her speech to the conference on Wednesday and the Guardian leads on what she will say, under the headline: “May appeals to ‘decent patriots’ in effort to halt Johnson leadership bid”. The story calls Tuesday a “testing day” for the prime minister and quotes her as saying the former foreign secretary’s speech made her “cross”.

Wednesday’s GUARDIAN: “May appeals to ‘decent patriots’ in effort to halt Johnson leadership bid” #bbcpapers #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter.com/8heAwlUTsG

— Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) October 2, 2018

The Daily Mail’s headline is “Daggers drawn” and the newspaper is clearly furious with Johnson and his “public audition for [May’s] job”. Alongside its news story the Mail runs a comment piece on its front page that is utterly scathing of Johnson, calling his speech “deeply disloyal, profoundly unrealistic”. It says the only person the speech served to benefit was Jeremy Corbyn, concluding: “If Mr Johnson’s personal ambitions help Labour’s half-baked Marxists to power, neither his party nor the country will ever forgive him.”

Wednesday’s Daily MAIL: “Daggers Drawn” #bbcpapers #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter.com/Dki1AWkpwB

— Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) October 2, 2018

The i’s headline is “May versus Johnson for soul of the Tories”, saying Johnson’s “explosive speech” was Johnson’s way of making “his pitch for No 10”.

The Times seems to be in May’s corner; its front page quotes from her optimistic speech, which says Britain’s “best days lie ahead”, and leaves mention of Johnson until the fifth paragraph.

Going even further, the Daily Express leaves Johnson off the front page entirely. Its lead story focuses on the prime minister’s speech, which the Express says will “spell out her patriotic vision of a future ‘full of promise’”.

Wednesday’s Daily EXPRESS: “Time To Believe In Brexit Britain” #bbcpapers #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter.com/eA3PanzxKG

— Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) October 2, 2018

Things are not so friendly for the PM in the Daily Telegraph, which is baying for May’s blood. Its headline is “Cabinet demands May set a date to quit”, with reports “discussions have begun about when Mrs May should be ousted if she refuses to leave Number 10 before the next general election”.

Wednesday’s Daily TELEGRAPH: “Cabinet demands May sets a date to quit” #bbcpapers #tomorrowspaperstoday pic.twitter.com/01hYLuL0Gr

— Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) October 2, 2018

And in a moment of narcissism so blatant it is almost endearing, the Sun manages to make the Tory party’s leadership woes all about itself. Reporting that May has committed to freezing fuel duty for the ninth year in a row “in a bid to persuade Britain to stick with her as PM”, the paper also called the freeze “a huge victory for the Sun’s long-running Keep It Down campaign”.

Tomorrow's front page: Theresa May freezes fuel duty AGAIN in victory for The Sun in a bid to stay PM https://t.co/meyYAlde17 pic.twitter.com/PVcMyCwupJ

— The Sun (@TheSun) October 2, 2018


Kate Lyons

The GuardianTramp

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