Newspaper headlines: ‘Vanity candidates’ for Tory leadership ‘screwed by Boris’

By BBC News
Staff

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“Who can stop Boris now?” asks the Daily Express, as it says Boris Johnson “has taken a massive lead” in the race to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and, therefore, prime minister. The paper pairs the headline with a stock image of Mr Johnson waving to press outside of 10 Downing Street’s famous front door.

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The Daily Mail comes to a similar conclusion. “One foot in Number 10”, its headline announces as the paper assesses Mr Johnson’s success in the first round of the Tory leadership contest. The Mail says his rivals are now scrambling “to sabotage a coronation”, claiming Mr Johnson faced a fierce backlash from his rivals who are “determined to prevent him from becoming prime minister”.

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The i’s headline “Johnson’s Tory enemies regroup after big win – throws the focus on those rivals. It also says Mr Johnson is being urged to face them in debates.

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The Times is among the papers to lead on Mr Johnson’s success, but focuses on claims the former foreign secretary is being accused of “hiding from TV debates”. The paper says the “Tory frontrunner” faces “intense pressure” to face off against the other candidates, with the others having already agreed to take part.

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The Financial Times says Mr Johnson is the “runaway favourite” – but hones in on the fact that all of the contenders are now male, after Andrea Leadsom and Esther McVey were knocked out of the race, along with Mark Harper.

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The Metro’s headline reads “Johnson odds-on” and “McVey is blown away”, as it points out that Mr Johnson was backed by 114 MPs, gaining more votes than the three closest challengers, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Dominic Raab. Among all the papers, it is the only one to picture one of the losing candidates on its front page as it records that Esther McVey was eliminated after coming bottom with just nine votes.

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The focus for the Daily Telegraph, however, are the contenders who only just made the 17-vote threshold needed to progress to the next stage of the contest. Its headline labels these the “Vanity candidates” and says they are being urged to quit by Boris Johnson’s supporters, in order to “speed up” the selection process.

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The Sun carries images of a happy-looking Mr Johnson along with four of his competitors, with a mocked-up speech bubble saying “We’ve all been screwed by Boris”. The accompanying story includes quotes from an (unnamed) “resigned Tory opponent” who says Mr Johnson is “home and dry”.

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Many papers mention the ongoing controversy surrounding Jo Brand’s Nigel Farage battery acid joke on a BBC comedy show, but the Daily Star is the only paper to lead with it. The paper brands the comedian “smirking Jo” and claims she said: “The BBC can’t sack me.”

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The BBC also appears on the front of the Daily Mirror, entangled in yet more controversy as it faces “TV licence backlash”. The paper says “BBC legends”, such as Len Goodman, Dame Esther Rantzen and Ricky Tomlinson, are demanding that plans to scrap free TV licences for all over-75s should be ditched.

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The Guardian opts for an international story as it leads with reports that the “US blames Iran for attacks in key Gulf shipping route”. It says Iran is being blamed for an assault on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, worsening tensions between the countries and raising fears over the safety of ships in Hormuz.

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