Newspaper headlines: 'Survival' and 'floundering' in election debate

By BBC News


There's plenty of analysis of Tuesday night's televised debate between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the papers.

Paul Waugh, for HuffPost UK, suggests Mr Johnson "undeniably had the best of the first half of the debate, when it was focused on Brexit".

He finds that there was "no knockout blow" in "this political boxing match", but that Mr Corbyn "won several rounds on points".

A similar analogy is employed by the Daily Mail, which concludes that Mr Johnson "kept [Mr Corbyn] on the ropes". Its columnist, Henry Deedes, believes "the judges' scorecards would have edged the prime minister", who, he says, delivered "an assured performance".

For Quentin Letts in The Times, the event was "unexpectedly good sport" - "pacy, a little chaotic", with an audience that "deployed forced, supportive, mocking, occasionally disbelieving laughter as a weapon of attrition". He declares the moderator, ITV's Julie Etchingham, the "clear winner".

In its editorial, the i newspaper awards victory to "the people posing questions from the audience". It accuses both men of showing "little humility" when addressing the issue of trust, "instead turning their answers back to their main attack lines on Brexit and the NHS".

James Forsyth for the Spectator believes the Conservatives "will be the happier of the two sides" after what he regards as a "scrappy affair". He expresses surprise that Mr Corbyn "didn't try and move to rally Remainers to him", making it harder to "squeeze down the Liberal Democrat vote".

The Daily Express considers it to have been "the debate of the crooked glasses" for the Labour leader, while Mr Johnson, it insists, "showed a clarity of vision". It calculates that Mr Corbyn "dodged" questions about whether he would support Leave or Remain in a second Brexit referendum nine times.

Image source, Getty Images

Fact checking

BuzzFeed UK reports that "genuine fact checking services and journalists" were "appalled" when the Conservative Party press office changed a Twitter account to resemble a fact-checking organisation during the debate, condemning it as "a disingenuous move to con people into believing it was an independent account".

Its coverage includes a tweet from the former Conservative chairwoman, Sayeeda Warsi, questioning why she "didn't get the memo" about the name change.

A spokesman for the independent fact-checking charity Full Fact tells Politico that it has reported it to Twitter, and questions whether the account should retain its blue tick verifying its authenticity.

The New Statesman sees it as a "gross subversion of democracy". According to its digital culture writer Sarah Manavis, it is "a disinformation tactic that not even Donald Trump has stooped to" which "echoes Russian dissemination tricks" and was "executed... with sinister intent".

'Pariah Prince'

As it emerges that Prince Andrew has cancelled a planned visit to flood-hit villages in West Yorkshire, the Daily Mail suggests he has become the "pariah Prince" for his links to the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Friends of the Duke of York tell the Sun he was "terrified about being booed by members of the public". The paper says he was "summoned for crisis talks at Buckingham Palace" on Tuesday morning amid mounting pressure for him to step down from public duties.

Senior figures at the English National Ballet are said by the Times to be "lobbying for the duke to be removed as patron".

The Daily Mirror, meanwhile, reveals claims that his royal protection officers are being urged to release their notes of his whereabouts on the night he denies having sex with one of Epstein's alleged victims.

Maternity 'tragedy'

Several papers feature case studies of some of the women affected by the maternity deaths at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust. The Daily Mail condemns it as a "shameful tragedy" and reveals how its exposure of the scandal was dismissed as "irresponsible" and "scaremongering" by hospital officials. It calls for the culture of "obfuscation and cover-up" to "change immediately".

The Sun is equally shocked by the failures, describing it as "the gravest maternity scandal in NHS history". It says "no one has carried the can" for "dozens of babies and mothers dying unavoidably" through "40 years of failure and epic incompetence", and adds that the "police must now step in".

Breast cancer drugs

The Daily Mirror highlights a study which has concluded that drugs commonly used to treat arthritis could help prevent the spread of breast cancer. It says researchers in Manchester and Sheffield found that the three drugs blocked the bone marrow from releasing a protein that helps cancerous cells to grow and make secondary tumours in bones.

A long slog

In what may be depressing news for many of us, the Daily Mail highlights a study by the Office for National Statistics, which has found that we should all work until we're 70. The report says improvements to health and life expectancy mean old age no longer starts at 65.