Newspaper headlines: A 'no-no' to no-deal and May's final warning

By BBC News

  • Published
Theresa MayImage source, Reuters

"Brexit Meltdown" is how the Times describes last night's extraordinary scenes in Westminster.

The Sun talks of carnage in the voting lobbies, with Tory MPs seen breaking down in tears.

The Mail says Theresa May's authority has been left in tatters - with none of those ministers who rebelled to vote to rule out a no-deal Brexit expected to be sacked.

The sketch writers express bewilderment.

Tom Peck - for the Independent - says the "extravagantly complex" twists and turns in last night's voting was "never-to-be-surpassed lunacy", like Benny Hill on acid in the Commons.

The Guardian's John Crace says Westminster descended into near anarchy - with every man and woman for themselves.

The Daily Telegraph says that with the Conservative Party on the brink of open warfare, the chancellor used his spring statement to set out an alternative Brexit plan.

The paper adds that by calling for a deal that MPs can "collectively support", Phillip Hammond was signalling he no longer backs the PM's withdrawal deal, and instead wants a compromise with Labour.

The Huffington Post website sees this as a demand for Mrs May to back a customs union with the EU - the only position Labour will support.

A "soft Brexit bribe" is the Daily Mail's more blunt description.

The Financial Times praises the chancellor's position - saying Mrs May and cabinet Brexiteers must break out of their tunnel vision, that it's the PM's deal or nothing.

EU leaders are reported by the website Politico to be "bracing themselves" for a request from the UK to extend the Brexit process. But it says they're under no obligation to accept it and could well respond with their own terms.

The Telegraph says Brussels plans to "play hardball" by demanding a long extension.

A senior EU official tells the paper that a short delay would only pre-program a no-deal Brexit for the summer.

Bloomberg quotes Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, who asks: "Why do you need a prolongation? Is it for organising a new referendum?"

Away from Brexit, the Sun's front page carries a claim, made in a new Netflix documentary, that Madeleine McCann may be still alive, 12 years on from her disappearance in Portugal aged three.

In the film, child abduction experts reportedly argue she may have been kept alive by a people trafficking gang for financial reasons.

The Daily Mirror reports that her parents Kate and Gerry McCann have distanced themselves from film - which is released tomorrow - and says their lawyers will be monitoring it carefully.

The Times is among the papers to pick up on archaeological findings, showing that not only was Stonehenge an astounding feat of pre-historical engineering - but also an excuse to throw the biggest party the British Isles had ever seen.

Tens of thousands of pig bones reportedly accumulated at nearby Durrington in just a 50-year period, according to the findings, showing that Neolithic Britons feasted on pork while the construction project was under way.

The Sun says revellers travelled from hundreds of miles around, to party like it was 1999 BC.