Newspaper headlines: Brexit deal chances assessed on front pages

Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street on Saturday 19 October Image copyright AFP

There's much speculation about whether Boris Johnson has missed his best chance to get his Brexit deal passed without radical changes, after Saturday's setback in the Commons.

Analysis by the Financial Times suggests the prime minister may have a majority of five for the agreement in its current form - if Commons Speaker John Bercow allows MPs a straightforward vote on it.

The Daily Telegraph says it's "still anyone's guess" whether Mr Johnson has the numbers to get an agreement through. It believes the prime minister is braced for another week of "parliamentary chicanery", and could try once again to force a snap general election if he fails to stop the legislation accompanying the deal being amended.

A senior source in the DUP tells the paper it will be "guerrilla warfare", amid suggestions the Northern Irish party which has propped up the minority Conservative government could support a Labour amendment to keep the UK in a customs union with the EU.

"Ditched!" is the caption accompanying the Guardian's cartoon, which shows DUP leader Arlene Foster and ex-Conservative MP Sir Oliver Letwin digging a large hole for Boris Johnson and his advisor, Dominic Cummings, as they hold aloft the three letters the prime minister sent to Brussels at the weekend.

Mr Johnson had forwarded an unsigned photocopy of a request for a delay to Brexit that he had been compelled to send by Parliament, along with a signed personal note saying he did not want a postponement, and a cover note.

In its editorial, the Guardian says MPs "rightly put the brakes on" the government's Brexit deal on Saturday - and must now "hold their nerve to subject it to forensic scrutiny" in the coming days. The Financial Times agrees, arguing that if Mr Johnson is so confident his deal is a "great" one, he should set out a clear, detailed vision for it.

The New Statesman website thinks Mr Johnson faces an uphill struggle to pass an unchanged agreement, regardless of what the opposition do.

"The government's coalition for a deal is already unstable," writes Patrick Maguire, who adds it was "always going to be difficult" to keep Tory hardliners like Bill Cash and moderate Labour MPs in Leave-voting constituencies united.

The Sun anticipates a "fierce week of parliamentary warfare" as Labour tries to bolt another referendum onto the deal. However, HuffPost UK thinks a different amendment - to keep the UK in a customs union with the EU - has more chance of success, as the numbers for a new public vote "still do not seem to be there".

Other publications condemn the prime minister's opponents. The Daily Express accuses Labour of trying to "torpedo" the deal. "How dare they!" is its front page headline. And the Daily Mail describes the customs union amendment as a "plot to wreck Brexit".

Some are simply exasperated by events over the last 48 hours. "Dear God, please make it stop," begs Judith Woods in a column on the Daily Telegraph's front page. Borrowing a phrase from the prime minister, she adds: "We will all be dead in a ditch if this purgatorial anguish goes on much longer."

'Normal, vulnerable'

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There's a mixed response to Sunday night's profile of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on ITV, during which Prince Harry and Meghan spoke at length about their troubled relationship with the media.

The Times says it was "powerful stuff - not Princess-Diana-on-Panorama powerful - but potent", showing the couple as "normal, vulnerable humans" no longer prepared to adopt a "stiff upper lip to cope with untrue tabloid stories".

But the Mail's Jan Moir can't understand why the Sussexes agreed to film the programme during a trip to Africa.

"One wonders at them visiting Angola, one of the most unfortunate countries in the world, and then using it as a backdrop to complain about their own problems," she says.

'Still a winner'

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Many of the back pages feature pictures of an emotional Andy Murray, who has claimed his first singles tennis title since career-saving hip surgery.

"Tears of a Crown," is the headline in the Daily Express, which says the two-time Wimbledon champion "proved he was still a winner" by beating Stan Wawrinka in the European Open final in Antwerp.

For the Daily Mirror, it was "one of the bravest comebacks of all time".