Today’s news summary – Paper Talk

Wednesday's front pages.

Today’s news summary – Paper Talk

Wednesday’s front pages are dominated by the news the prime minister and the chancellor have both been fined for attending a party for the PM at the height of Covid lockdown – therefore both breaking the law. The PM is the first serving prime minister to have knowingly broken the law whilst in office. 

How the papers report on the news is telling, fewer headlines could highlight political divisions amongst the UK’s national newspapers so clearly. 

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Partygate: PM and Chancellor fined

The Metro refers to the scandal as “partygate shame” and in big bold letters says: “PM and the chancellor broke the law”. The Mirror says the country is “led by liars and lawbreakers” – and says letting PM and chancellor remain in office is a scandal. The Independent shows a picture of No 10 door with the words “scene of the crime,” while the Star headlines the row as the “cost of fibbing crisis.” 

The i leads with an image of Carrie and Boris Johnson as well as Rishi Sunak and says the PM is “refusing” to quit and faces more fines. The paper leads with polls suggesting the public wants the PM to resign. 

The Guardian says the PM’s position remains in peril despite his apology as the police are still investigating. Its editorial says that every day he remains in place, he “diminishes the highest office in the land.” 

The Times and The Telegraph discuss the chancellor’s future. The Times says Rishi Sunak was on the brink of quitting after he was told about his fine. The paper says the chancellor was understood to be angry about the fine as he was never invited to the party and had only been in No 10 for a meeting with the PM. 

The Telegraph calls the fine “the icing on the cake” of the chancellor’s recent scandals and suggests he could still resign, in an attempt to show accountability and restore his reputation. ‘People have the right to expect better’ is the paper’s headline. 

The FT editorial says it is a “far from ideal” time for change in the UK but the government cannot retain its legitimacy if it does not follow the laws it has imposed on its citizens. The paper argues that a swift contest for a new Tory leader would be beneficial for the government to regroup and focus on Ukraine. 

Express columnist Leo McKinstry says the “Partygate bomb” had not had the devastating impact that might have been expected and the decision to oust Boris Johnson may hinge on May’s local elections. 

For the pro-Tory papers, the partygate scandal can be forgiven. 

The headline on the front page of The Sun reads: “I’m sorry… but I have work to do.” The paper says the PM has vowed to stay focused on Ukraine and the energy crisis, and the paper’s editorial argues that he should be allowed to do so, saying: “Now let’s deal with the real issues”.

The Express calls Boris Johnson “a true leader,” and says now is not the time to bring the government down. The Daily Mail slams the opposition who are calling for the PM’s resignation – “Don’t they know there’s a war on?” asks its headline. It also says the police inquiry has been branded a farce. 

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