Newspaper review: 'Boris bounces back' in the 'May Team'

Theresa May and husband Philip enter No 10 Image copyright PA
Image caption The new prime minister and her husband, Philip, are welcomed into No 10

It might have been Theresa May's day overall, but Britain's new prime minister has to share some of Thursday's front page limelight with her surprise choice as foreign secretary.

"Boris Bounces Back!" declares the Daily Mail of Boris Johnson's appointment to one of the top jobs in Theresa May's first cabinet.

The Daily Mirror sees it slightly differently: "Dear World... Sorry," it states simply.

Mr Johnson was one of three prominent EU Leave campaigners - David Davis and Liam Fox were the others - given a place at the top table of government on the day Mrs May became the UK's second female prime minister.

"May brings in the Brexiteers," in an attempt to "reshape Britain's role in the world", says the Daily Telegraph.

Tory backbenchers and Eurosceptics "said it was proof that Mrs May, who supported staying in the EU, will stick to her promise that 'Brexit means Brexit'", it adds.

'Fiscal hawk'

The Financial Times describes the first cabinet appointments as the beginning of a "radical reshaping of government for the Brexit era".

The appointments of Mr Johnson as foreign secretary, Mr Davis as "Brexit minister" and Mr Fox as international trade minister were a signal that Brexit campaigners will "shoulder the burden" of leaving the EU, it suggests.

The paper naturally also focuses on the decision to end George Osborne's time as chancellor and replace him with Philip Hammond - "the technocratic foreign secretary and a fiscal hawk".

"Mrs May turned to one of the cabinet's safest pair of hands to manage the country's fragile economy."

The Guardian says that while Mrs May's first speech as prime minister was "centrist and conciliatory", her first cabinet appointments suggested a "shift to the right".

They also "demonstrated an attempt to reunite a Conservative party fractured by the EU referendum debate and tackle the tough task of negotiating Britain's way out of the European Union".

According to the Daily Mail, Mrs May "stamped her authority" on No 10 by sacking the chancellor and breaking up the party's "Notting Hill set".

The Daily Express, which, like the Daily Mirror, refers to the "Darling buddies of May", described the appointments as "an audacious attempt to heal the bitter Tory rift over the EU referendum".

"Her decision to give leading Eurosceptics key foreign affairs roles delighted Brexit campaigners."

'Distanced from Cameron'

The i is one of the few papers to put what Mrs May said in her first speech as prime minister ahead of what could be read from her first appointments.

Mrs May said she would "lead a 'One Nation' government, which stands up for ordinary families struggling to make ends meet", it says.

The Daily Telegraph highlights her saying that she will "fight against burning injustice".

"In her first address to the nation, she instantly distanced herself from David Cameron's government by declaring she would not 'entrench the advantages of the fortunate few'."

'Boris back from the dead'

"Sensational", "stunning" and a "bombshell" are just some of the words used to describe one of the most dramatic turnarounds in political fortunes in living memory.

As the Financial Times succinctly puts it: "Boris Johnson... had been assumed politically dead after stepping out of the race as prime minister two weeks ago."

The Times describes it as "an astonishing comeback".

"The former mayor of London took his first cabinet position less than two weeks after tumbling out of the race for Conservative leader, then backing Theresa May's opponent, Andrea Leadsom, for the top job."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Just two weeks ago it looked like the door to No 10 had been closed for ever on Boris Johnson

The Daily Mail's Andrew Pierce writes: "Lazarus-like, Johnson has come back from the political dead."

He also says there may be a "shrewd political calculation in the surprise appointment".

"It means that Johnson will be out of the country and, more importantly, out of Westminster for large parts of the year.

"He will be running up tens of thousands of air miles."

Under the headline "We got our BoJo back", the Sun says Theresa May, in a "ruthless reshuffle", "stunned Westminster by giving BoJo one of the most prized jobs in her government".

'Laughing stock'

It adds: "Boris's hiring completes a stunning turnaround in his fortunes.

"Under two weeks ago, [he] looked down and out of politics when his own party leadership bid was knifed by Michael Gove."

The Daily Mirror cannot contain its disdain over Mr Johnson's comeback, suggesting that Britain "faced being a laughing stock" and its credibility was "hanging by a thread".

News of his appointment was met with a mixture of hilarity and despair on social media, it reports.

In its editorial column, the papers adds: "May showed her leopard print kitten heels possess steel toe-caps by sacking Osborne, but gifting the Foreign Office to Johnson doesn't inspire confidence."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption There were plenty of comings and goings for the media to report on

But editor of the i, Oliver Duff, offers a more positive outlook.

"He has ample practice representing London on the world stage, and lightning-fast mastery of a detailed brief," he writes.

"He will be tasked with selling Britain to the world - and selling the Brexit vote as the cry of a self-confident country, rather than the revenge of a Little England.

"Boris is showbusiness."

However, the Guardian echoes the view of a number of papers that the newly created posts given to Mr Davis and Mr Fox mean Mr Johnson is likely to have "a less sweeping role than his predecessors as foreign secretary".

So long, farewell...

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The Camerons posed on the steps of No 10 for one final photocall

Much space is devoted on the inside pages to David Cameron's final day as prime minister, but two of the papers push a rare sight of his children on to the front pages.

"Go with the Flo," says the Sun of Mr Cameron's final appearance outside 10 Downing Street, with his wife Samantha and children Nancy, Elwen and Florence by his side.

Mr Cameron was "upstaged by giggling Florence", the paper says of the five-year-old.

The Daily Mail's Robert Hardman says of the Camerons' exit "hand-in-hand out of Downing Street, back to normality": "The star of the show was a little girl who wasn't even born when dad was holding his first Cabinet meeting here."

'Glimpse of sorrow'

On its inside pages, the Times says it was a rare public appearance for children whose privacy has been "fiercely protected during the Downing Street years".

The Daily Telegraph's Gordon Rayner says there were no tears, but "as the Cameron family hugged each other on the doorstep... there was the briefest glimpse of sorrow".

"It had been, said the outgoing PM, 'a lovely home over these last six years', but its door had closed behind them for the last time, less than three weeks after the referendum vote that sealed their fate."

Curious about George?

Wednesday not only marked the departure of David Cameron from Downing Street, but also his neighbour at No 11, Chancellor George Osborne.

So what did the papers have to say about his departure?

"Few tears will be shed that David Cameron took George Osborne with him - the old PM and a chancellor who was the architect of painful, destructive, self-defeating austerity exited together." (Daily Mirror editorial column)

"George Osborne was brutally sacked by Theresa May in an act of ruthlessness that stunned Westminster. Political pundits said it would delight pro-Leave Tory MPs. They were furious with the chancellor for his Project Fear scaremongering during the referendum campaign." (the Sun)

"George Osborne always was a gambler. Most of his wagers paid off, but the biggest - staking his future on the outcome of a referendum he did not want but thought he could win - was a bet too far." (Financial Times)

Hair-raising headlines

Image copyright AP
Image caption A barber is paid £99,000 a year to look after this presidential head of hair

We like eye-catching stories in the paper review. And hair-raising ones too, which is certainly true of the headlines that the leader of a country close to these shores finds himself the subject of.

"His hair may be thinning but French President Francois Hollande employs a barber on a fat salary of £99,000 a year, it has emerged," reports the Daily Telegraph.

"The balding 61-year-old president. long the target of gossip over his 'unnaturally youthful' jet-black hair, has now become the butt of jokes that his barber charges extra for implants or 'miracle extensions'."

'Thinning thatch'

The Daily Mail quotes the lawyer of the hairdresser - known as Oliver B - as saying: "He is available to the president 24 hours a day and is never replaced by anyone else.

"He missed the birth of his own children, their broken arms, their operations."

A spokesman for the president is also quoted as saying: "He does the president's hair every morning and as often as is necessary at each public event."

The paper adds: "But critics pointed to Mr Hollande's thinning thatch and suggested the job might not be so onerous after all."

There may be more to, ahem, comb on this story.

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Image copyright Thinkstock

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