Newspaper headlines: Threat to Theresa May from Brexit's 'Dad's Army' abates

If you were in any doubt as to whether a week really is a long time in politics, a glance at Wednesday's front pages should convince you.

A week ago, Theresa May was trying to win her cabinet's approval for the draft Brexit deal she had struck with Brussels. Since then, she's lost four ministers and faced intense pressure from backbench Brexiteers bent on ousting her.

Now the papers have turned the heat onto the rebels' leader, Jacob Rees-Mogg, amid signs his attempt to garner the required 48 letters from Tory backbenchers to trigger a confidence vote in the PM has stalled.

Many feature pictures of Dad's Army, after the campaign to topple Mrs May was likened to something from the classic sitcom. The Sun has a mocked-up picture of Mr Rees-Mogg in the captain's uniform telling his sidekick: "Don't tell 'em your plan, Pike".

"Who do you think you are kidding Mr Moggwaring?" is a headline in the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Rees-Mogg himself continued the Dad's Army theme, telling reporters: "I've always admired Captain Mainwaring."

'Unable to count'

The Daily Express says Mr Rees-Mogg and his "motley crew" have retreated with tails between their legs, with not so much a bang as a whimper. In the words of Times sketch writer, Patrick Kidd, the plot may have run out of puff faster than a chubby boy on a cross-country run.

Also in the Times, Daniel Finkelstein says it's obvious that Mr Rees-Mogg and his allies have never been anywhere near the figure required to trigger a vote of confidence in Mrs May.

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"Here we have a group of people who plan to split the Tory Party, sack the prime minister, take the country to the brink, and yet appear unable to count to 48," he writes.

However, the Daily Mail says more saboteurs might emerge. For now though, cooler heads must prevail, it adds.

'Shot across the bows'

Some papers warn that the Democratic Unionists' refusal to back the government in a series of Commons votes in recent days should be taken seriously by the Conservatives.

A Telegraph cartoon has DUP leader Arlene Foster about to pull the rug from under Theresa May over the Brexit deal. The Spectator website thinks it's a shot across the bows, and one that comes with a message that if the Tories want to keep on governing, they need to change their leader as the DUP no longer trust this one.

Meanwhile, the Sun says that of all the PM's Brexit miscalculations, her most suicidal would be to think the DUP was bluffing.

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"Why would the DUP topple the Conservatives and risk a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn?" Telegraph commentator Philip Johnston wonders.

"What matters to the DUP," he says, "is Northern Ireland's place in the Union and, provided that can be guaranteed, Labour can be led by Vlad the Imposter for all they care."

The Mail describes the DUP's failure to vote with the government as shameful. They are angry the Brexit deal risks temporarily leaving Northern Ireland with different rules from the UK, it says, but they are less quick to moan about divergent laws on abortion, gay marriage and tax cuts.

Agent alarm

There's alarm at the prospect of a senior Russian official, Aleksandr Prokopchuk, being elected president of Interpol in a vote this morning.

In the view of the Financial Times, there are legitimate questions about whether an official of a country accused of sending agents to the UK to poison an opponent with a nerve agent should be able to preside over a global law enforcement body.

The Telegraph warns that unless his candidacy is blocked, Interpol's credibility will be severely, maybe irreparably, damaged.

For the Times, this episode should serve as another wake-up call to western democracies about the vulnerability of international institutions to authoritarian regimes that don't share our values.

(Update 07:20 GMT: South Korean Kim Jong-yang was elected as president of Interpol, beating Mr Prokopchuk in the vote)