Newspaper headlines: 'Boris and Rory show' in TV debate

MP Boris Johnson speaks during a Conservative Leadership televised debate on June 18, Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Johnson is in the lead in the race, after two ballots among Conservative MPs

The Conservative leadership TV debate is the main story for most of Wednesday's papers.

Inevitably perhaps, most attention focuses on the front-runner, Boris Johnson, making his biggest appearance so far during the contest.

The i newspaper says the debate was an ill-tempered and chaotic encounter, but concludes that the former foreign secretary emerged unscathed. "Tory rivals can't knock Johnson off his perch," is its front page headline.

The Daily Mail says none of his rivals managed to land a killer blow, while in the Sun's view. no-one laid a glove on him.

The Daily Express thinks he was solid and measured, but his trademark characteristics of humour, verbal wit and stardust were entirely missing.

For the Guardian however, Mr Johnson was forced on to the defensive and cracks appeared to emerge in his positions under pressure from viewers' questions, and his rivals' replies.

The Times notes that he failed to guarantee that he would leave the EU on 31 October and downgraded to an "ambition" his plans to cut taxes for higher earners.

The Daily Telegraph says Mr Johnson and Rory Stewart - the favourite and the outsider, as it describes them - emerged as the winners of the debate. "The Boris and Rory show", is the headline.

But the Daily Mirror wasn't impressed by any of them, describing them as clueless contenders who were unable to answer the big questions. Its headline - accompanied by a picture of the candidates perched on their stools: "Our next PM? What a joke!"

Meanwhile on the debate as a whole, the Telegraph's editorial describes it as somewhat unedifying, and a shouting match according to the Mail.

Daily Mirror columnist Brian Reade called it "unspeakably dull, with so little spoken apart from empty platitudes and promises".

The column said it was a serious turn-off for anyone interested in politics, let alone those who could have been watching Emmerdale on ITV.

In its political sketch, the Guardian says the five candidates - sitting on their stools - looked like an ageing boy band performing a reunion gig.

For the Sun, it was more like the former ITV show, Blind Date.

Image caption The candidates answered questions set by members of the public

Meanwhile, the Times reports that Jeremy Corbyn is to back a move on Wednesday for Labour to change its Brexit policy and support a second referendum in all circumstances.

The paper says the shadow cabinet is due to discuss the plan to make Labour's stance decisively pro-Remain. A senior Labour source tells the paper: "It is a moment".

According to the Guardian, Mr Corbyn will flesh out and develop Labour's position in a speech perhaps as soon as this week.

The Mail and the Sun lead on the news that an elderly woman is seriously hurt in hospital following an accident involving the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's official convoy.

The accident happened as Prince William and his wife were leaving London to take part in a ceremony at Windsor Castle, the Mail reports.

According to the Sun, the couple have offered to visit the woman in hospital.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Prince William and Kate have sent their best wishes to the woman, called Irene

Finally, several papers report that a drinker has won a discrimination case against a brewery after he was stopped from buying its "women-only" beer at one of its bars.

According to the Mirror, Thomas Bower, 27, had wanted a Pink IPA, but was offered the brewer's signature Punk IPA - which was 20% more expensive to highlight the gender pay gap.

The Mail says he was only given the cheaper ale - satirically dubbed "beer for girls" - after telling staff he "identified as a woman".

The Telegraph reports that Mr Bower was awarded £1,000 after a judge ruled that he had been unfairly treated because of his gender.

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