BBC News

Newspaper headlines: 'Volcano horror' and 'war' over boy on A&E floor

By BBC News

image copyrightMichael Schade

Most front pages feature dramatic images of burning ash and smoke billowing from the volcano that erupted on White Island in New Zealand, killing up to 13 people.

"Moment mountain of death erupted" is a caption in the Daily Mail. "They never had a chance," declares the Sun.

An eyewitness who was on a boat that helped rescue survivors tells the Otago Daily Times that many of those who came off the island were "horrifically burnt".

As attention turns to whether the loss of life could have been avoided, the New Zealand Herald asks why were tourists allowed on what it calls the "unsettled island" when alert levels had been elevated over recent weeks?

The paper points out that after the Christchurch mosque attack and recent earthquakes, the White Island tragedy is the latest in a "year of grief and unimaginable terror" which New Zealand has had to endure.

'Failure to empathise'

Yesterday, the Daily Mirror drew the public's attention to Jack, the sick four-year-old boy who was pictured lying on a hospital floor in Leeds.

Today, the paper tells Boris Johnson: "Here's another picture you won't want to look at." It tells the story of Baby Lily, who it says had to wait on a chair in A&E for six hours with just her mother's cardigan as a blanket. The paper describes her case as "heart-breaking" and says the image shames what it calls the "callous Conservatives".

The Mirror also condemns Boris Johnson's response when a television reporter challenged him to look at the photograph. It says that Mr Johnson's initial response - when he declined to look at the photo and pocketed the reporter's mobile phone - is "typical Conservative contempt".

The Guardian describes it as a "master class in lies, bluster and phone theft".

The Financial Times believes the image of a sick child sleeping on a hospital floor in Leeds and Boris Johnson's reaction to it has led to his first significant stumble of the election campaign.

HuffPost UK asks: "Was this the day this deadening general election finally came to life?" It says Mr Johnson's exchange with a television reporter was "a moment that told us a lot about the prime minister's irritable side, his unconventional conduct and his failure to empathise properly with a lived experience of the British public".

The Daily Mail and the Daily Express lead on Boris Johnson's suggestion that the BBC licence fee could be scrapped under a Conservative government and replaced with a pay-to-watch subscription model.

Ross Clark, writing in the Spectator, welcomes the prime minister's comments, which he says amount to "just about the first bold policy announcement" of the election campaign.

The Times, however, cautions that the plan will face resistance from the BBC and will be seen by opponents as a political attack on the broadcaster.

The Express acknowledges there are arguments either way, and that many of us groan at having to pay the licence fee, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater, it says.

The Daily Telegraph reports on the contents of a Tory memo which says the chances of a Jeremy Corbyn-led coalition have been "seriously underestimated".

The note, circulated among staff at Conservative Party HQ at the weekend, says tactical voting in just 12 constituencies could oust Boris Johnson from Downing Street.

The Sun fills its front page with a picture of the Apprentice boss, Lord Sugar, in familiar finger-pointing pose, alongside the headline: "You're fired, Corbyn". It says the former Labour peer is urging people to vote Tory to enable Britain to escape what he calls its "Brexit quagmire".

The sketch-writers reflect on Jeremy Corbyn's election rally in Bristol yesterday and contrast it with Birmingham at the same point in the campaign two years ago when nearly 10,000 people turned up to listen to him.

Then, says John Crace in the Guardian, there was a sense of hope. This time with barely a couple of thousand in attendance, there was just "weariness" and "a commitment to a cause that already felt lost".

The Daily Telegraph's Michael Deacon likens Mr Corbyn's Labour to a fading rock band, taking one last weary trudge around the country, plodding dutifully through the hits for the hardcore.

Tainted by scandal

Several papers consider Russia's four-year ban from major global sporting events by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The Financial Times points out that not since apartheid-era South Africa has a nation been barred so ignominiously from world sport.

But the Times says anti-doping activists will be dismayed that Russia will still be able to take part in next year's European football championship and that individual athletes not tainted by the scandal will be allowed to compete as neutrals.

image copyrightAFP
image captionRussian Olympic Committee president Stanislav Pozdnyakov faces the media after his country was banned from world sport

Finally, the Times also describes how filming of a robbery scene in a village in Dorset turned out to be all too realistic for one particular resident.

A gang had just held up the village shop in Winfrith Newburgh, only to find themselves being chased by a member of the public who thought the raid was for real.

The director of the film - which is due for release next year - tells the Times he was impressed by the community spirit shown by the would-be hero.