BBC News

Newspaper headlines: PM warns rule breakers as dad shops without mask

By BBC News

image copyrightPA Media
image captionThe prime minister said new measures to tackle the increase in coronavirus cases "will take time to feed through".

The return of the Downing Street coronavirus briefing is a focus of many of Thursday's papers.

The Daily Express says Boris Johnson is urging everyone to "stick together" to avoid another national lockdown. Its leader column echoes the call for vigilance; and puts the onus on younger people. It warns that an "ill-judged party or an illegal get-together could lead to grandparents suffering a painful death".

The Sun has seized upon the prime minister, warning people not to "throw in the sponge" at a critical moment in the pandemic. It's merged Mr Johnson's face with a image of the cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants ("Sponge-boz scare-pants" is the headline there).

On a more serious note, the paper says Mr Johnson needs to realise that public confidence with his handling of the pandemic "is wearing thin" - and he must try hard to win it back.

The Times' commentator Iain Martin claims the Conservative Party has started thinking about replacing Mr Johnson. He says that the confusing and ever-changing body of coronavirus rules, laws and advice is the prime minister's direct responsibility - and that it will be "fascinating" to watch over the coming months how far the Tories are prepared to go in order to "save Boris and hope that he improves".

The Daily Telegraph's parliamentary sketchwriter, Madeleine Grant, highlights the lack of announcements in Wednesday's briefing. She says the news of no further restrictions was a "pleasant surprise" and jokes that the "worst news" is that the coronavirus briefings will be resuming weekly.

In the Daily Mail, Henry Deedes describes the briefing as a "strange thing" in which "we were told that little had changed and yet were put on notice that, soon, everything might".

The Spectator's deputy political editor, Katy Balls, says the briefing provided "little reason for cheer". She believes that "it was clear from the address that new restrictions are more likely than not".

The Daily Mirror says it would be easier for everyone to follow the rules and help beat the virus if the government's instructions were "clearer". It believes it's "telling" that even Mr Johnson's father, Stanley, forgot the need to wear a face covering when in a shop. "Stanley, in a high-risk group at 80, said he was 'maybe not 100% up to speed'," the paper reports. The Mirror's front page asks the prime minister: "So when's your dad getting fined then, Boris?"

The Sun suggests the former Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, could also be fined after breaking the "rule of six" to attend a dinner party with eight other people last weekend. "No Socialist Distancing" is the headline. Mr Corbyn has apologised for what he admits was a "mistake".

"Mr Boom versus Mr Doom" is the headline on the front of the Daily Mail. The paper contrasts "upbeat" comments from the Bank of England's chief economist, Andy Haldane, with what it describes as "gloomy lockdown statements" from the prime minister. It quotes an online speech Mr Haldane made yesterday, in which he warned that good financial news was being "crowded out by fears about the future".

As the Times reveals that ministers are considering converting old ferries into "floating asylum centres", the Guardian leads on another option to deter migrants from crossing the English Channel from France. This proposal could apparently involve sending asylum seekers to Moldova, Morocco or Papua New Guinea.

The Financial Times understands another idea that was discussed was to deploy vessels capable of generating large waves that would force small boats back into French waters.

In one of its leading articles, the Times acknowledges the "legal, moral and logistical" difficulties of potential solutions being discussed - but says it's "unreasonable to castigate the Home Office for exploring" them as the present situation is not sustainable.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionRecord numbers of people crossed the Channel to the UK in small boats last month.

The charity director for Age UK, Caroline Abrahams, uses a comment piece in the Daily Express to reflect on the loss of local high street banks, following the news that TSB is going to shut 164 branches. Ms Abrahams says that "thanks to the pandemic, we are now hurtling towards becoming a cashless society" - which she fears will have a "hugely detrimental impact" on many older people.

The fall-out from Tuesday night's ill-tempered presidential debate between between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden remains the focus of the US news websites.

The Fox News anchor, Chris Wallace, who moderated the event, tells has told the New York Times he "never dreamt that it would go off the tracks the way it did".

In the Washington Post, Alexandra Petri has some fun with the prospect of changes being made to the debate format to stop a repeat of the chaos. Her suggestions include allowing the moderator to "stare straight into the camera and emit a blood-curdling scream" upon any interruptions.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe commission that oversees US presidential debates says it will change the format to ensure the remaining two encounters between Mr Trump and Mr Biden are more orderly

"James Bonds are forever," says the Express, as it reports on an interview with the team behind the 007 franchise ahead of the release of Daniel Craig's final Bond film next month. The producer, Michael G Wilson, says by re-casting the lead character the films are kept fresh. The Daily Star focuses on the promise from Barbara Broccoli that the new film will be a "classic".

Several of the papers include colourful photographs of the pantomime dames who marched on Westminster in London on Wednesday to call for more support for the creative arts, which have been badly affected by lockdown. This year's panto season has effectively been cancelled because theatres are closed. "Are you behind us?" questions the headline in the Guardian. The Telegraph has gone with "Dames in distress", while the Mirror says it's "dame over".

And, in the words of the Daily Star, the "morons" who "snaffled all the bog rolls" are now "nabbing all the Christmas grub". It reports that panic-buyers are stockpiling Christmas puddings and says everyone needs to "calm down" as it's only the 1 October. According to the Daily Mirror, puddings are "flying off the elf...".