Newspaper headlines: PM’s ‘power grab’ and Harry and Meghan ‘axe team’


Front page of the Guardian

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The Guardian is one of many papers to lead with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “unexpectedly brutal” cabinet reshuffle. Mr Johnson’s move to “seize control” over the Treasury by pooling advisers between both No. 10 and 11 Downing Street is nothing short of a “power grab” which forced Sajid Javid to quit as chancellor, the paper says.

Front page of the Financial Times

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Mr Javid’s resignation was the result of a “brutal power struggle”, the Financial Times says. It says Mr Javid walked out in protest after clashing with Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, about how to manage the UK’s finances after leaving the EU. The front page also finds room for an opinion piece by writer Robert Shrimsley, who writes: “While Mr Javid’s departure was clearly unintended, it fits the theme of this reshufffle – that compliance trumps competence.

Front page of the Daily Express

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The Daily Express depicts Mr Javid as a loser and Mr Johnson as an “iron man” with a tightened grip on power. The crux of the matter, the paper explains, was Mr Javid’s rejection of Mr Johnson’s demand to sack the chancellor’s four-strong team of Treasury advisers – and replace them with appointees from No. 10.

Front page of the Metro

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The Metro’s take on the shock resignation is that Mr Javid – whose father was a bus driver – was “thrown under the bus”. It claims the prime minister forced Mr Javid out by demanding his aides were sacked. And to add to the rumours about a clash with Mr Cummings, the paper says the PM’s adviser had dubbed Mr Javid as “Chino” – chancellor in name only.

Front page of the i

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The i blames Mr Cummings for what it calls an “explosive rift” with the team at No. 11 Downing Street. It also reflects on the other MPs who no longer have roles in Mr Johnson’s cabinet – including Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey, Geoffrey Cox and Theresa Villiers. All, the paper says, are victims of the “government purge”.

Front page of the Daily Mirror

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In keeping with the melodramatic language used by many papers, the Daily Mirror brands the “savage” cabinet reshuffle as a “bloodbath”. The front page utilises the skills of the paper’s artwork team for a mocked-up picture depicting Dominic Cummings as the prime minister’s puppet master, and claims the country is now run by a team of “spineless stooges”.

Front page of the Daily Mail

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The Daily Mail reports on another “bloodbath” – it claims the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are closing their Buckingham Palace office and axing all the staff. One or two employees may be “absorbed back into the royal household” but most are negotiating redundancy packages, the paper says. It comes after the couple decided to step down as senior working royals.

Front page of the Daily Star

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True to form, the Daily Star leads with a completely different story to the other national papers. The tabloid focuses on a “BBC row” after a TV adaptation of an Agatha Christie novel is dubbed an “X-rated swear fest”. Fans of the murder mystery writer are in uproar and have “blasted” the broadcaster, the paper claims.

The drama of Thursday’s cabinet reshuffle fills the front pages – with phrases such as “bloodbath” and “power grab” featuring again and again.

Paul Waugh says on HuffPostUK that even though the prime minister’s chief strategist, Dominic Cummings, was not in the Downing Street study with Boris Johnson when Sajid Javid resigned, his presence “loomed like a thundercloud crackling with static”.

He writes that during their meeting, Mr Johnson congratulated the job his chancellor had done during the election campaign, only introducing the idea which would lead to Mr Javid’s resignation as a “throwaway” remark at the end of the meeting.

According to the Times, when the chancellor was asked to sack his advisers, he demanded to know what they’d been accused of – but received no answer and refused outright.

The Daily Mail points to the “anger” in Mr Javid’s resignation letter.

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Getty Images

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The sight of Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid next to each other in cabinet meetings is a thing of the past

Several papers agree he was taking aim at Mr Cummings when he warned about the “character and integrity” of those around Mr Johnson.

Theresa May’s former aide, Nick Timothy, tells the Telegraph the resignation was “transparently engineered by No 10”.

An unnamed former cabinet minister tells the Politico website it seemed “perfectly obvious” Downing Street wanted to sack Mr Javid, but because Mr Johnson had promised not to fire him, he had to get him to resign.

For the Daily Express, Mr Johnson has demonstrated “ruthless, Thatcher-like determination” which will free “policy-making from Treasury inertia”.

But the Times believes this profound shift isn’t good. It argues that where prime minister should be concerned with overall political fortunes, the chancellor’s task is to safeguard the public finances.

And it says Mr Johnson may come to regret the move, if it leads to Britain’s fiscal credibility being questioned.

The Mail describes what it says is another bloodbath on its front page – the decision by Harry and Meghan to close their Buckingham Palace office and axe 15 staff.

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PA Media

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have stepped back as senior royals

The paper thinks this is the surest sign yet that the couple and their son Archie are unlikely ever to return to Britain to live.

Several papers carry news of a device which could keep transplant hearts alive for a whole day and save the lives of thousands of people.

According to the Daily Mirror, the system works by surrounding the tissue with oxygen-rich fluid and is small enough to fit into carry-on luggage.

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The paper says currently three quarters of hearts transported for transplantation are of no use by the time they arrive – so, according to researchers, the new method could be a “game-changer”.

Many of us would perhaps disown the compilation tapes we made in the 1990s – but the papers have news of one mixtape lost in Majorca in 1993, only to turn up in an art exhibition.

According to the Sun, Stella Wedell was 12 when she put the compilation together for her Walkman. It includes Mr Vain by Culture Beat and Would I Lie to You? by Charles and Eddie.



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