Newspaper headlines: China's warning to UK and 'naughty Tory' on trial

By BBC News

Carrie LamImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
The foreign secretary is under pressure to sanction Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, after China imposed a severe new security law

Leaks from Whitehall that the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is to announce a stamp duty holiday for house buyers in his economic statement on Wednesday are widely reported.

But the i newspaper says the government briefings suggested the measure won't come in until the autumn, and economists and MPs have urged him to introduce it immediately or risk paralysing the housing market for months. 

The Daily Telegraph's property editor, Isabelle Fraser, says an autumn start means that those about to buy will now wait, eager to make a chunky saving by simply putting off their purchase.

She warns of an artificial short-term collapse in sales before a surge when the policy comes into force.

Criticism of Boris Johnson's comments accusing care homes of failing to follow proper coronavirus procedures is the Guardian's main story. 

It says his remarks follow fears that ministers, mindful of a likely future inquiry into the government's handling of the crisis, could be seeking to lay responsibility for care home deaths on outside bodies, such as Public Health England.

The Spectator website describes the comments as "the inevitable blame game". In the Daily Mirror's view, the prime minister's "shamelessness" in blaming care-home owners for coronavirus deaths is "gobsmacking".

The Daily Telegraph leads with warnings that plans to allow late-night pubs and bars to sell takeaway alcohol will spark street violence, disorder and drunkenness

It says the government is facing criticism from senior politicians and policing chiefs over a bill that would relax licensing rules to boost the hospitality sector. 

The chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, Ken Marsh, is quoted as saying the legislation appears "ill thought-out".

Meanwhile there's widespread praise for the government's £1.5bn bailout for the arts. 

The Times says Tory governments are not accustomed to hearing the sound of applause from Britain's cultural industries ringing in their ears. It describes the financial package as larger than anyone had dared expect. 

But even with this support, the paper adds, the future of the creative industries will remain bleak unless venues are able to reopen soon. It says other countries have already found ways to do this, and ministers now need urgently to agree guidelines to follow suit.

The Guardian offers three cheers for what it calls the government's unexpected generosity. But the paper says it should have acted sooner, pointing to the German government's bailout more than a month ago. 

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Economists are calling on Rishi Sunak not to delay a cut to stamp duty

The Telegraph's parliamentary sketchwriter, Michael Deacon, notes there was more praise for another government minister in the Commons yesterday - so rare, as to be a little unsettling, he says.

One after another, MPs from opposition parties stood up to voice approval after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced that 49 individuals and organisations in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Myanmar and North Korea were to be targeted under Britain's new independent sanctions regime. 

The Financial Times says Mr Raab is now coming under intense pressure to target Chinese officials and the Hong Kong chief executive, Carrie Lam, as tensions between London and Beijing escalate.

For its main story, the Daily Mail says the diplomatic war over Huawei's involvement in Britain's 5G network has taken an extraordinary twist, after a dossier accused China of trying to manipulate key establishment figures in the UK to back the telecoms giant.

It says the report, commissioned by a New York film producer, names several prominent individuals, claiming the aim was to make them China's "useful idiots".

The paper says those identified in the report have issued statements strenuously denying knowledge of or involvement in any such operation. 

A Huawei spokesman is quoted as saying the company categorically rejects the unfounded allegations, which it says are the latest in a long-running American campaign against it.

A number of papers step up their demands for ministers to put an end to poor working conditions at some textile factories - which have been linked to the rise in coronavirus cases in Leicester. 

The Daily Mail says that when it comes to shopping for clothes, we are all too happy to snap up a bargain, but the hidden cost of fast fashion has been laid bare in Leicester's garment factories. 

For the Financial Times, the UK doesn't need new laws to address sweatshops, but proper enforcement of the ones it has.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
The Telegraph says you can now get close enough to the Mona Lisa to be underwhelmed

Finally, there are many pictures of masked visitors taking selfies with the Mona Lisa in the background, on the first day of the re-opening of the Louvre in Paris. 

New safety measures have been put in place, including a limit on the number of visitors, and the Telegraph's Mark Stratton says that on balance, the Louvre was a more enjoyable experience than usual without the crowds

The wearing of a slightly stifling mask and traipsing around a one-way system were worth the sacrifice of being able to spend more time pausing over the treasures, he says - as well as being able to get close enough to the Mona Lisa to realise just how unremarkable the portrait is.