Newspaper headlines: Boris Johnson, EU referendum, pilot dies and Queen's corgis

One man dominates the front pages, and that is Mayor of London Boris Johnson after he supported a UK exit from the European Union.

Mr Johnson writes an article in the Daily Telegraph in which he sets out his reasons for backing a "Brexit".

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to vote for real change in Britain's relations with Europe," he says.

"This is the only opportunity we will ever have to show that we care about self-rule. A vote to remain will be taken in Brussels as a green light for more federalism, and for the erosion of democracy."

The Telegraph says Mr Johnson sent Prime Minister David Cameron a text message just nine minutes before making a public statement declaring his intentions.

The Guardian believes it delivers a severe blow to the Remain campaign and could transform the fortunes of the Leave side.

"It is also a personal humiliation for the prime minister who had urged Mr Johnson hours earlier to avoid 'linking arms' with Nigel Farage and George Galloway in backing a British exit from the EU," the Guardian states.

The Times says Mr Cameron now faces a formidable coalition of senior cabinet ministers, and up to half of his parliamentary party, campaigning against him in the months before the EU referendum.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Outside number 20 for now... but heading for Number 10?

For the Independent, Mr Johnson's decision makes him the natural leader of the Leave campaign and front-runner to become prime minister should the country vote to quit the EU.

The Mail says the announcement "electrified" the referendum debate, while the Express calls it a "game-changing" decision.

Following its recent "Who do you think you are kidding Mr Cameron?" splash, the front page of the Sun raises a smile.

In a Dad's Army mock-up, it depicts Mr Cameron's "Captain Mainwaring" being blown away by Mr Johnson with pro-exit Michael Gove in the background.

The Mirror says Mr Johnson's choice has been criticised as a "cynical bid to become Tory leader".

There is better news for Mr Cameron in the Financial Times, which reports that corporate leaders at a number of FTSE 100 companies will compose a letter arguing that the UK is "stronger, safer and better off" in a reformed EU.

"The barrage of business support will come as some relief to Mr Cameron after London Mayor Boris Johnson yesterday declared his support for a British exit," says the FT.

"Mr Johnson, who had been offered a senior cabinet post by Mr Cameron if he remained loyal, will now become the most prominent figure of a Brexit campaign which - if successful - could topple the prime minister.

'Eton mess'

The Telegraph's James Kirkup traces Mr Cameron and Mr Johnson's relationship back to the "battlefields of Eton".

He writes: "One day, someone will write a book about David Cameron and Boris Johnson. The problem will be that if it's accurate, no one will believe it.

"After all, the international standing of a great nation hanging on the complicated and not entirely mature relationship between two men from the same school and university dining club is the stuff of cliched fiction, not historical reality."

Matthew d'Ancona in the Guardian thinks a battle between two Etonians is a poor way to decide what sort of country Britain should be.

"Call it an Eton mess: this is precisely the confrontation that was not meant to happen, the battle that David Cameron and Boris Johnson have tried to avoid for many years," he begins.

"But on Sunday night, as Johnson at last declared himself a supporter of Brexit, this long-evaded contest became inevitable."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The commentators highlight David Cameron and Boris Johnson's common past

Ian Birrell in the Independent describes Mr Johnson as "best-selling author and part-time London mayor".

"Johnson's revelation yesterday was, of course, really about his leadership ambitions - for all his straight-faced denials and protestations of loyalty to David Cameron," he says.

The Mail's Andrew Pierce says Mr Johnson's move could define his place in history.

He concludes: "Once, discussing the prospect of leading his party, Boris famously said that 'if the ball came loose from the back of a scrum, it would be a great thing to have a crack at'.

"It seems that he has just spotted that rugby ball spin loose - and reached out to grab it."

The Sun's Trevor Kavanagh says that while Mr Johnson was taking his time, the initiative has been lost to Mr Gove.

Kevin Maguire in the Mirror writes that the mayor has confounded EM Forster's choice by betraying both his friend and his country.

Editorial comment: Boris and the referendum

  • Times: Off the fence
  • Telegraph: The Leave campaign now has a powerfully persuasive standard-bearer
  • Guardian: Europe is too important to be left to the Conservatives
  • Independent: The fight of his life
  • Financial Times: Cameron finally makes the case against Brexit
  • Mail: At last, we have voices to speak for England
  • Express: Our crusade puts Brussels top of the political agenda
  • Sun: Game on, Boris
  • Mirror: Give us the Euro facts

Carrier landings

The papers mark the passing of celebrated Royal Navy pilot Captain Eric "Winkle" Brown at the age of 97.

Captain Brown flew a record 487 different types of aircraft and interrogated Hermann Goering during what was a fascinating life.

An obituary in the Times recounts how his World War Two flying career might never have got off the ground.

He was an exchange teacher in Munich and rounded up by the SS on the day war broke out in 1939.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Captain Eric "Winkle" Brown became a decorated navy pilot

Just as he was convinced he was heading for a Gestapo cell, he was put into a car, driven to the Swiss border and told he was free to go.

The obituary continues: "He was to become a decorated Fleet Air Arm pilot and one of the greatest test pilots in history.

"By the end of his career he had flown 487 different aircraft types - more than anyone else. He also held the world record for aircraft carrier deck landings - 2,407.

"He never, though, became blase about this statistic - or about carrier deck landings. 'It's one of the most demanding things you can do as a pilot,' he recalled in later life."

Dog's dinner

Finally, several papers pick up on an interview with royal corgi handler Roger Mugford in Town and Country magazine.

"There is no Pedigree Chum on the menu for the corgis of Buckingham Palace. Instead, a butler serves homeopathic treatments and herbal remedies to the Queen's beloved pets," says the Times.

"Each animal's meals are specially tailored to their dietary requirements. Their food arrives on silver and porcelain plates, Roger Mugford, trainer of the royal dogs, says.

Image caption The royal corgis are served their food by a butler

Animal behaviourist Dr Mugford recounts how the Queen would have her corgis sit in a semi-circle around her, then feed them one by one in order of seniority.

As the Telegraph puts it: "Admirers of the Royal Family probably expect the Queen's mealtimes to be dominated by strict protocol about seniority, dinner served on silver and porcelain, and bespoke menus for each member of the family.

"But they may not be aware that such formalities apply not only to the Royal Family, but also their dogs."

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Media captionJames Cusick, political correspondent for the Independent, and broadcaster Lynn Faulds Wood join the BBC News Channel to review Monday's front pages.

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