Newspaper headlines: 'Weary TV debate' and 'weekend storm havoc'

BBC Papers 7 December 2019

Many of the papers lead with reaction to the BBC's two-way debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn on Friday evening.

For the Sun, the debate's highlight was Mr Johnson criticising Mr Corbyn's neutral position on Brexit. For the Mirror, the Labour leader "came out on top" as he "skewered" the PM over the NHS. But for the Telegraph, the hour-long debate was "weary" and "anything but a Christmas cracker".

The PoliticsHome website says it was a "seemingly cautious appearance" by the prime minister, who "stuck to his tried and tested messaging" - while a snap YouGov poll afterwards suggested that Mr Johnson was narrowly seen to have won, but Jeremy Corbyn "came across as more trustworthy".

The event was a "fairly humdrum" affair, according to HuffPost UK, which says it employed a somewhat "stilted format". The website says there are now "calls for a debates commission and American producers to take charge of the TV set pieces at the next election".

The Times reports that the "senior media figures" have accused broadcasters of sounding "hysterical" by "attempting to embarrass party leaders into doing interviews". It quotes the former ITV boss Lord Grade and the Channel Five founder David Elstein as criticising editorial decisions made during the general election.

Boris Johnson tells the Daily Mail telling the paper that the country "faces its starkest choice in decades at next week's election". He dismisses surveys suggesting he is on course for a majority, insisting that he has learned the lessons of the 2017 result and will be "fighting for every vote".

The PM tells the Mail that questions over whether he can be trusted make his "blood boil because it was [Parliament] that forced the government to break its promise" over Brexit.

As the vote nears, The Daily Mirror nails its colours firmly to the mast, offering a handy guide for its readers setting out how tactical voting can prevent a Conservative majority next week. It lists all the marginal seats that could swing away from the Tories - including the prime minister's own constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

The Daily Mail is similarly helpful - but it lists all the permutations that would help Brexit-supporting voters get Boris Johnson back into No 10 and ensure Brexit is delivered. For those opting to vote according to policy, the i newspaper provides a comprehensive breakdown of each party's manifesto pledges on all things infrastructure.

'Why was he let out?'

Why was Joseph McCann - convicted of multiple sex attacks on Friday - able to walk free from jail without a parole hearing, asks the Daily Mail.

The Daily Mirror blames the government for scrapping sentences of Imprisonment for Public Protection and making cuts to the probation service.

The Guardian's Jamie Grierson highlights "a probation sector in crisis", which has been "hit with a slew of damning reports from the inspectorate" since it was overhauled by Chris Grayling.

The Daily Telegraph agrees - it says the "broken criminal justice system is a disgrace and a danger to the public," and it demands that the next government "restores sanity to sentencing... to keep men like McCann off the streets".

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"Weekend havoc" could be on the cards, according to the Daily Star, which splashes warnings over incoming Storm Atiyah which it says could bring 80mph gusts. "First blast of winter," the paper declares, reporting that the Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for large parts of England.

Meanwhile, the Times reports that the climate campaigner Greta Thunberg has sparked a surge of interest in transatlantic voyages as travellers try to make their trips as low carbon as possible.

British travel agents say growing numbers of customers are looking to book sea crossings - with many opting to take a berth on a cargo ship.

Separately, reservations on sleeper trains such as the Night Riviera from London to Penzance are said to have increased by more than a quarter in the past year, as passengers try to avoid flying.

And finally

A banana taped to a wall has sold for nearly £100,000, an incredulous Sun reports. Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan says the idea took a year to compose.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Maurizio Cattelan's banana artwork proved popular while on display in Miami

Two of the works were sold but the paper says buyers were given no clear instructions on what to do if the bananas start to decompose. The Sun's headline? "That's bananas!"