BBC News

Newspaper headlines: 'Red wall revolt' and Covid vaccine 'milestone'

By BBC News

image copyrightReuters

Several papers lead with the letter from more than 50 Conservative MPs in the north of England, who are demanding a strategy to exit the tightest coronavirus restrictions.

According to the Daily Mail headline, it's a "revolt" by "red wall MPs". It points out that their intervention "is a significant challenge" to Boris Johnson because there are "enough MPs to overturn his Commons majority".

The Daily Telegraph names the former cabinet ministers David Davis, David Mundell and Esther McVey as among the signatories who fear that their communities will be "left behind" - particularly after Chancellor Rishi Sunak shelved his planned three-year spending review next month in favour of a one-year version.

It says they want Mr Johnson to reaffirm that he won't "downgrade pledges to spend big on infrastructure plans for the North".

The Daily Express hails a "milestone" in the search for a Covid vaccine, with older volunteers apparently showing a "strong immune response" to a jab under trial at Oxford University.

People aged over 55 were found to have low levels of side-effects - offering hope that an effective vaccination programme will soon be possible.

The Daily Mirror contrasts an image of Mr Johnson serving hot plates of hospital food with his refusal to extend the free school meals programme during the holidays. "Can't you feed the nation's hungry kids too?" it asks.

In a play on words referring to his public school education, the Daily Star condemns his policy as an "Eatin' Mess". The Metro says a "volunteer army of caring Britons" has "stepped up to the plates" instead.

Huffpost UK presents evidence of the Tory backlash. One former minister concludes the party is on the wrong side of the culture war Mr Johnson sought, while another MP complains they trusted ministers, who made fools of them and left them "desperately fighting the flak back in our constituencies".

The former science minister and policy chief George Freeman predicts the Conservatives will suffer "annihilation" in next year's local elections, unless they change tack.

According to the Telegraph, Mr Johnson is preparing to give councils extra money for holiday clubs to provide children with at least one free meal a day outside term time - a suggestion made by the government's food tsar, Henry Dimbleby.

The paper adds that the scheme could be combined with extra study time for pupils catching up after lockdown, "enabling ministers to argue it was a planned policy, rather than an about-turn".

image copyrightPA Media
image captionSome businesses have stepped in to offer free meals to children over the half-term

The Times uncovers more details of the drama on board an oil tanker whose crew was threatened by a group of stowaways. A recording of the captain's mayday call reveals the stowaways had surrounded the control room before special forces stormed the vessel.

A source tells the paper they turned violent "when they realised that they weren't going to be allowed to get off and disappear into the British countryside".

And the Sun suggests it will be "all fright on the night" this Halloween, after Downing Street announced that trick or treating would be permitted in areas in tiers one and two of the Covid restrictions.

It says "millions of fun-starved kids" can "take part in the ghoulish festivities" - as long as they follow the rule of six and stay out of people's homes.