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Newspaper headlines: 'Tory rebels' virus revolt' amid 'deadly chaos'

By BBC News

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Under the headline "Deadly Chaos", the Daily Mirror says "millions of Britons have been left baffled" by the latest coronavirus measures - a "muddle of utterly confusing laws, rules and guidelines... and all the while the virus spreads among us". The paper says it is "no wonder that public compliance is falling" when "no evidence is produced to justify" pubs and restaurants having to close at 22:00 BST.

It's a view shared by the Daily Telegraph, which says the curfew is failing in its objective of keeping people apart and slowing the growth of the virus. In its editorial pages, the paper says it's "exasperating" for many of Boris Johnson's supporters that there is no sign that the government is about to change course.

"Time to axe 10pm curfew" is the headline in the Daily Mail, which says pressure is growing to ditch a policy that simply forces crowds onto the streets. Police, scientists and politicians have joined forces to call for Mr Johnson to rethink it, the paper says. It reports that only 3% of coronavirus outbreaks investigated by Public Health England were due to people gathering in bars and restaurants.

The Sun says it "wouldn't mind so much if there was solid evidence" that the curfew and other "draconian curbs" were cutting infections. It says what these "freedom-destroying edicts do most successfully is induce panic, seen in the idiotic stripping of loo roll from supermarket shelves".

'Red Wall revolt'

Mr Johnson is facing a "Red Wall revolt" by Conservative MPs in traditional Labour constituencies over the latest measures, according to the Daily Mail. It says with 16 million Britons now under "draconian" restrictions, his own MPs are calling it a "national lockdown by default".

Even if the government placates its backbenchers in the short term, it is unlikely to quell broader anxiety about its coronavirus strategy, according to the Spectator. The magazine detects growing unease about the direction in which ministers are going with lockdowns. It says usually supportive MPs have made it clear the government needs to subject itself to more scrutiny if it is to maintain the backing of its MPs.

The Times says Tory backbenchers have accused the prime minister of "ruling by decree" with the creation of new coronavirus offences - prompting comparisons with George Orwell's dystopian novel, 1984.

It is also calling for an "overhaul" of government structures to improve long-term decision-making for the duration of the pandemic - including the appointment of a minister with specific responsibility for test and trace. The Times's leading article says the government "keeps getting caught out by problems that ought to have been foreseeable". A test and trace minister, it argues, could "mobilise" resources across departments and "ensure that sufficient testing capacity is made available where and when it is needed".

Affluent millennials and holidaymakers are "driving the second wave" of coronavirus infections, according to the latest data reported in the Daily Telegraph. The analysis - by the Office For National Statistics - found cases were rising fastest among wealthy under-35s whose infection rate has more than quadrupled since the end of July. The paper says the figures suggest the introduction of the so-called "rule-of-six" may do little to stop the spread of the virus.

The paper leads with the shortage of flu vaccine across parts of the UK, raising fears that pensioners may face delays in getting the jab this winter. It says the shortfall leaves "swathes of the most vulnerable with no immediate prospect of a jab, despite a government promise that they would be at the front of the queue".

'Gentle giant'

The Guardian is one of the papers to carry a photograph of Su Bushby and her late partner Matt Ratana - the police officer who was killed at a custody suite in south London - who she described on Monday as a "gentle giant".

On its front page, the Sun carries a photograph of the suspected gunman, Louis De Zoysa, taken some years ago as he posed with a 5ft medieval sword.

image copyrightNeil Donohue
image captionMatiu Ratana, known as Matt, was a keen rugby union coach, a fan of performance motorcycles and weight-training

There are signs that European negotiators are inching closer to agreeing a trade deal with the UK, according to the Times. It says Brussels "is understood to have dropped its demand for the two sides to reach a broad agreement on all the outstanding areas of dispute" and negotiators have indicated they are prepared to press ahead with writing the joint legal text of a deal.

Many US papers have been considering how the revelations about Donald Trump's tax returns might affect the forthcoming presidential election. The Los Angeles Times is of the view that they won't have a huge impact on a race that has remained "remarkably stable despite numerous developments that might have altered it - a worldwide pandemic... a recession, wildfires consuming the West and widespread protests for racial justice". The paper says the revelations "may not dampen enthusiasm for Trump among his most ardent supporters, who have brushed off outrage after outrage for years".

Nearly three-quarters of US voters plan to watch the first debate between the presidential rivals Donald Trump and Joe Biden tomorrow, according to a poll reported in the Washington Post. The paper says that up to 11% of the electorate are either still unsure of how they will vote or might yet switch sides - suggesting the debates could play a pivotal role in the election.

And finally, the Times is among a number of papers to report that Britain is facing another potential diplomatic row over the return of a cultural treasure. This time though, it's not a dispute over the Elgin Marbles, but a fossilised shark's tooth. It was given to Prince George last week by Sir David Attenborough who came across the fossil on holiday in Malta in the 1960s. Under Maltese law, fossils are considered objects of "cultural heritage" and the country's culture minister now wants to see its return.