BBC News

Newspaper headlines: 'No 10 slams attacks' and 'royal Netflix rage'

By BBC News

image copyrightPA Media

"Four dinners and a political funeral," is how The Sunday Times characterises the row which has engulfed No 10 this week, as the papers continue to examine rival accounts of the turmoil at the heart of the government.

At one meal, according to the paper, Boris Johnson was persuaded by his fiancée, Carrie Symonds, and his new press secretary, Allegra Stratton, that he "quite liked" the persona that won him the London mayoralty twice - as opposed to that of being a Brexit "buccaneer".

At another - which saw Boris Johnson cook sausages and Lee Cain mash "potato and swede into a lumpy accompaniment" - the prime minister urged his now-outgoing director of communications to remember his "duty" to the country and stay with him through the coronavirus crisis.

The Sun on Sunday has a different account of what is described as a "tasty" lunch. Under the headline, "Bangers 'n clash", Mr Johnson is said to have offered Lee Cain the position of chief of staff.

But it reportedly ended in a "squabble" after Ms Symonds accused Mr Cain of launching a smear campaign against her. Or, as the Sun puts it, Mr Cain had his sausages and was "kicked out for telling porkies".

The Sunday Mirror says the turning point in the prime minister's relationship with his aides came when it emerged the Dominic Cummings' faction were using a "cruel" nickname to describe Ms Symonds.

When he found out, Mr Johnson is said to have "flipped".

Renewed focus

There is also a renewed focus on Allegra Stratton. Friends have told the Observer she spent yesterday morning in tears - because she believes Lee Cain told "numerous journalists" over the previous 24-hours she was not the first choice for the role.

Ms Stratton has also been forced to defend her Conservative credentials. She has told the Sunday Telegraph that despite voting for Labour, the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats in the past, she voted for Brexit and describes herself as "a Johnson Tory".

"What a way to run the country," says the Mail as it details the "hatreds, tears and tantrums" which led up to this week's dramatic events.

Sign up for a morning briefing direct to your inbox

Despite the drama, The Sunday Express suggests an effort to repair relations between Mr Johnson and backbench Tories may already have begun, with one MP reportedly contacted by Downing Street and assured there will be "no backsliding on Brexit".

Elsewhere, The Mail On Sunday reports on anger among the royal family at the new series of the Netflix drama, The Crown.

The paper says a Palace insider has called the show "trolling on a Hollywood budget" while some of Prince Charles' closest confidantes have accused it of exploiting the family's pain for financial gain.

The Mail says the Duke of Cambridge is also "none too pleased", while the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were understood to be angry with previous series for depicting events that never took place.

And the Sun on Sunday reveals the England football manager, Gareth Southgate, has been, in its words, secretly battling coronavirus. He reportedly tested positive last month after developing symptoms and self-isolated at his home in North Yorkshire for ten days.

The Sun says he chose to keep the news quiet, letting only a handful of people know.