Newspaper headlines: Boris Johnson apology call and 'Wild West Britain'

By BBC News


Many of Wednesday's papers focus on the row surrounding Boris Johnson's comments about women wearing the burka and niqab.

"Spineless" is the Daily Mirror's headline, reflecting Labour's accusation that Theresa May is "weak" for her refusal to suspend him.

Image source, Getty Images

Its columnist, Alison Phillips, describes Mr Johnson's remarks as "clanging klaxon xenophobia" calculated to put himself at odds with the Conservative establishment in "the pursuit of power".

A politics professor tells the Financial Times his comments were "intended to appeal to the grassroots of the party", because "the key to his appeal to Tory supporters is his continued newsworthiness".

The Times warns of the "potentially lethal consequences" of "the politics of division". It says the murder of the MP Jo Cox "should weigh on political campaigners".

Elsewhere, images of seven-year-old Joel Uhrie - who died in a suspected arson attack on his home in south-east London - feature prominently.

Image source, Family handout
Image caption,
Joel Urhie dreamed of becoming a firefighter, his family said

One poignant photograph shows him in a firefighter outfit. The Daily Mail says the "tender family portrait" is "enough to break your heart", while the Sun laments he "never got the chance to be a real fireman".

First intervention

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance is said by the Daily Telegraph to have accused Labour of "undermining" efforts to stamp out anti-Semitism, by refusing to accept its definition of the term.

In what the paper calls its first intervention in the row, the organisation warns that adding or removing sections of its guidance risks damaging efforts to prevent racism by causing division.

Meanwhile, Dame Margaret Hodge, who was threatened with an inquiry after she clashed with Jeremy Corbyn over Labour's approach to anti-Semitism, tells the Guardian the party is "trying to purge" the leader's "parliamentary critics".

Image source, PA

She called on officials to drop their disciplinary proceedings against her fellow backbencher, Ian Austin.

He is understood to have been accused of "abusive conduct in parliament" - but Dame Margaret said he should not be punished for "arguing passionately for what he believes in".

Foodbank 'directive'

The Independent online newspaper carries claims by Amnesty International that European countries - including the UK - are "complicit" in a rise in the number of refugees dying in the Mediterranean and a surge in the number being kept in "squalid" detention centres in Libya.

The report insists EU policy is designed to contain migrants in Libya, while undermining the humanitarian effort to save lives.

There is no official response, although the paper says the Home Office has been contacted for comment.

Huffpost reports that Jobcentre workers are told not to keep a record of the number of people they direct to foodbanks.

A directive, issued by the Department of Work and Pensions, is said to inform staff they must not use the term "referral" or "voucher" when "signposting" claimants to food aid, and can make a note only if the foodbank requests authentication.

Image source, Getty Images

A spokesperson for the DWP insists it's "constantly reviewing research carried out by organisations" to add to its understanding of foodbanks.

And striking photographs of World War Two soldiers in drag, which were banned by the Ministry of Information, are published in the Daily Telegraph.

The servicemen are seen running to man the coastal defences in Kent while wearing dresses and bonnets, after an air raid siren interrupted their rehearsals for a variety show.

One man did not even have time to grab his helmet.

Officials were said to be "alarmed" that the images could give the impression British troops were not as manly as they might be.