Newspaper headlines: Johnson's justice 'war' and a 'tot secret' row

Boris Johnson Image copyright Getty Images

As Conservative party members receive their ballot papers to choose the next occupant of Downing Street, many of the papers continue to focus on the man they agree remains the clear frontrunner.

The Daily Mail speaks of Boris Johnson declaring "war on soft justice". In an interview with the paper, he says it is wrong that violent criminals are routinely freed halfway through their prison sentences and promises to change the law to ensure the worst offenders serve their full terms.

He also pledges to boost police powers to stop and search knife crime suspects, but says he is considering an "amnesty" for tens of thousands of illegal immigrants who've been in Britain for more than 15 years.

Meanwhile the Guardian reports that, at a hustings in Darlington, Mr Johnson said he would require all immigrants to learn English so that they "feel British".

The Daily Telegraph says Boris Johnson's rival for Number 10, Jeremy Hunt, will declare today that he is best placed to win back the youth vote from Labour, while unveiling a raft of policies aimed at younger generations.

According to the paper, these will include a promise to build 1.5 million more homes over 10 years, on top of the existing annual target of 300,000 new homes.

The Telegraph says Mr Hunt will also reiterate a pledge to slash interest repayments on student debt.

The i newspaper says he will warn that young people would "be sold down the river" by Jeremy Corbyn with a "buy now, pay later" programme.

The editor of the ConservativeHome website, Paul Goodman, is unmoved. Before Tory MPs began voting for a new leader, he recalls, ConservativeHome argued that the party's future depended on delivering Brexit - and that Boris Johnson was best placed to do this, especially if a general election was forced over the issue.

That remains the case, he says, so "cross your fingers and vote Johnson".

'Smear' plot

A number of papers, including the Telegraph and the Sun, report that the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, is leading a campaign by a group of 30 Conservative MPs to block a no-deal Brexit.

The Telegraph says they've met three times in the past month to discuss plans including agreeing a date in October when MPs could force through legislation. The Sun castigates them as "clueless deal breakers".

Under the headline "Downing Street accused of plot to smear Boris", the Telegraph leads with claims that aides of Theresa May have been "playing petty politics" with Britain's intelligence services, in an attempt to undermine Boris Johnson's campaign to become prime minister.

It notes that as Conservative members received their ballot papers in the leadership election, the BBC led its morning bulletins with the story that the former foreign secretary - a Telegraph columnist - had been excluded from security briefings, a story Mr Johnson has since dismissed.

One former Cabinet minister, who is not named, tells the paper the timing looks like an "establishment attempt from Number 10 of Theresa trying to get her preferred candidate".

The Times leads with a poll of Tory members carried out for the paper by YouGov. It suggests that Mr Johnson is on course for a landslide victory over his opponent, Jeremy Hunt, with nearly three quarters of the vote.

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However, in an interview with the Times, Mr Hunt urges party members to hold off voting at least until after next week's two television events: a debate between the candidates on ITV and one-to-one interviews on the BBC.

He says his big message is: "Try before you buy."

The other main story in the Times is a report that an unnamed, multi-millionaire businessman has been allowed to remain anonymous after facing allegations of sexual harassment and assault in an employment case - allegations which he has always denied.

The Times describes him as one of the British establishment's richest and most powerful figures. Three times on its front page, it blocks out his name.

It says the man agreed large financial settlements with two women last year before an employment tribunal was held.

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As part of the settlement, the women had to withdraw their claims and sign non-disclosure agreements - also known as "gagging orders".

The paper says it has fought a legal battle for over a year to report the case fully, but a judge's ruling has prevented it from naming the man.

The Financial Times reports that the rules on inheritance tax could be eased, following an independent review ordered by the Chancellor. It says the current "seven-year rule", which means the tax can be applied retrospectively to assets given away if the individual dies within seven years, could be reduced to five years to simplify the work of executors.

The FT observes that this proposal is likely to be controversial, even though gifting allowances have remained frozen since the 1980s.

Secret ceremony

On the day that the Royal baby, Archie, is christened, the Daily Express says the Duke and Duchess of Sussex face a public backlash over their decision to record the birth on a private Royal register, thereby concealing the identity of the godparents.

The Express speaks of Harry and Meghan being accused of acting like "Hollywood A-listers" by keeping the ceremony secret and Archie hidden. "Tot secret" is the headline on the front of the Sun.

The Sun also reports that a 28-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman have been arrested for allegedly plotting a terror attack on the Pride parade in central London today. They are said to have been detained in Luton on Wednesday, in a joint operation between Scotland Yard and MI5, on suspicion of planning a gun and knife attack.

The Daily Mirror celebrates the proposal to deny parole to killers who refuse to reveal where they have left their victim's body as a victory for its campaign to change the law in honour of Helen McCourt.

Murdered 30 years ago, Ms McCourt's remains have never been found. Marie McCourt, 75, tells the paper that never being able to lay her daughter to rest has always been "torturous", but that knowing a legacy is being created in her name brings some comfort.

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The remarkable comeback of the 15-year-old American, Coco Gauff, at Wimbledon last night dominates the back pages and features on some front ones too.

The teenager saved two match points before defeating the Slovenian, Polona Hercog, in a final set.

The Guardian calls her the "comeback kid". The Daily Mail declares: "We've Gone Loco Over Coco!". And the Telegraph calls it the "Fairy tale of Centre Court".