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The Papers: HS2 ‘gamble’ and Storm ‘Dennis the Menace’


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The Papers: HS2 ‘gamble’ and Storm ‘Dennis the Menace’

Image caption The Financial Times is one of many papers leading with the prime minister’s pledge to deliver the controversial HS2 high-speed rail project. The paper says that, while Boris Johnson promises the £106bn scheme will be a transport “revolution”, critics have queried the cost and the benefits. Image caption The Metro’s main headline rebrands…

The Papers: HS2 ‘gamble’ and Storm ‘Dennis the Menace’

Front page of the FT

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The Financial Times is one of many papers leading with the prime minister’s pledge to deliver the controversial HS2 high-speed rail project. The paper says that, while Boris Johnson promises the £106bn scheme will be a transport “revolution”, critics have queried the cost and the benefits.

Front page of the Metro

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The Metro’s main headline rebrands the project “High Spend 2”, as it focuses on Mr Johnson’s acceptance that HS2’s costs have “exploded” above the original budget of £32.7bn.

Front page of the i

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The i also slightly renames the project in its headline, calling it “High Speed North”. A subdeck headline describes Mr Johnson’s approval of the “biggest infrastructure project in Europe” as a gamble. and another headline highlights that rebel Tories and green groups will continue to fight against the project.

Front page of the Daily Express

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The gamble theme is also taken up the Daily Express, which claims that Mr Johnson’s move is risky business, and that he is making a “£100bn bet” to secure economic growth. It pictures him defending the project in the House of Commons, hours before visiting a building site in Birmingham where he wore a HS2-branded safety helmet and overalls.

Front page of the Guardian

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Mr Johnson is staking his political reputation on the rail scheme, the Guardian declares. The prime minister brushed off objections made by MPs in his party who said the project would be an “albatross” around the government’s neck, the paper adds.

Front page of the Telegraph

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Moving away from transport to television, the Daily Telegraph quotes the BBC’s chairman as warning the nation will be “weakened” if the broadcaster’s licence fee is reformed. Sir David Clementi is due to give a speech that is “likely to antagonise the government”, the paper claims.

Front page of the Daily Star

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“Brace Yourself II” warns the movie-style strap headline at the top of the Daily Star front page as the paper warns readers of a second weekend of dangerous weather. Storm Dennis – or Dennis the Menace, as the tabloid dubs it – is on its way. Or “on the warpath” as the paper puts it.

Front page of the Mirror

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A British man linked to 11 coronavirus cases is afraid he might become a scapegoat, the Daily Mirror reports. Steve Walsh spoke out for the first time on Tuesday. Neighbours told the Mirror he was “terrified” he might face a backlash over the outbreak.

Front page of the Times

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The prime minister’s reported “fury” at a decision by judges to prevent the deportation of 25 offenders to Jamaica makes the lead story in the Times. It says Mr Johnson is planning to limit the ways judicial reviews can be used to challenge ministers.

Front page of the Daily Mail

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Drastic action is needed for the NHS to cope with a surge in the elderly population, England’s new chief medical officer tells the Daily Mail. Chris Whitty tells the tabloid that rural areas in particular are struggling to cope with the number of patients over the age of 65.

Front page of the Sun

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Finally, an interview with the former girlfriend of celebrity chef Paul Hollywood makes the front page of the Sun. Summer Monteys-Fullam, 24, says she was “besotted” with the 53-year-old Great British Bake Off judge, adding: “If you love someone, then age is nothing but a number.”

The Financial Times supports Boris Johnson’s decision to give the HS2 high speed rail project the green light.

Its lead story argues that the prime minister was “right to face down opponents in his party”.

Britain, it says, is “in dire need” of major infrastructure investment – but there are caveats.

The FT argues the management of the scheme urgently needs to be overhauled and the northern section should be built as soon as possible.

The Daily Mail describes HS2 as “Europe’s biggest train set – at £321m a mile“.

It suggests Boris Johnson had no choice but to push ahead. “If he had scrapped or downgraded HS2,” the tabloid says, “his term of office would have begun with a massive climb-down”.

On its front page, the Daily Express has a photo of Mr Johnson wearing an orange high-viz jacket and hard hat, at the site in Birmingham where work has begun.

The headline is: “Boris and his biggest gamble yet”.

Image copyright
REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

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The Daily Express says the prime minister has taken a major risk by approving HS2

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Chancellor Sajid Javid suggests it’s wrong to think local rail networks will not be improved because HS2 is going ahead.

“We must do both to ensure Britain is match-fit,” he says.

“Has Boris Johnson just used HS2 to kill Heathrow Airport expansion?” asks HuffPost UK.

The website’s suspicion is fuelled by something the prime minister said in the Commons yesterday: “Passengers arriving at Birmingham Airport will be able to get to central London by train in 38 minutes, which compares favourably with the time it takes to get from Heathrow by taxi.”

HuffPost concludes it would be a “typically Johnsonian solution, to dig himself out of one political hole by digging up the ground somewhere else entirely”.

HS2 ‘gamble’ and Storm ‘Dennis the Menace’

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Several of the front pages feature large photos of Steve Walsh – the businessman linked to 11 cases of the coronavirus in Britain and France.

The Daily Mirror’s headline is: “Don’t turn me into a scapegoat”.

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Its front page story expresses sympathy for Mr Walsh, saying that “nobody deliberately catches or passes on coronavirus”.

It also says avoiding panic about the disease is “vital”, so that health workers are not “overwhelmed by false alarms and irrational fear”.

The Sun is furious that former police officers in Northern Ireland are to be investigated – by a commission set up to examine allegations of what’s described as “non-criminal police misconduct”, during the Troubles.

The Police Federation of Northern Ireland expresses concern that some former officers could be bankrupted – because they would have to pay the legal bills themselves.

The paper’s opinion column describes the inquiry as a “sickening outrage”, and calls on the prime minister to put a stop to it.

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Getty Images

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Dinner party guests are more satisfied with their meal if a linen tablecloth is used, according to a study reported in the Times

Finally, the Times reports that the quality of the food and wine – and the ambience – might not be the key factors in whether or not guests enjoy your dinner parties.

Researchers in Germany fed more than 200 people tomato soup in a variety of settings, to see how it would affect their experience.

The Times says that while things like low lighting did have an impact, the use of a table cloth was the “game changer”.

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