Image caption, Many of Wednesday’s papers carry pictures of the King delivering his first speech at the State Opening of Parliament since taking the throne last year. The Metro dubs the event the “Kingzzz speech” and says the government’s plans “underwhelmed even its supporters”. It says that of the 21 bills mentioned – the lowest number since 2014 – none was new and seven were carried over from the last parliament.
Image caption, A proposal by Home Secretary Suella Braverman to restrict the use of tents by homeless people – which didn’t feature in the speech – was never cleared by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and left officials in Downing Street “blindsided”, according to the i. It adds that two ministers have already distanced themselves from the plans and that Tory MPs have accused Ms Braverman of making a bid to replace Mr Sunak as Conservative Party leader. One is quoted saying: “Everything she does is about the leadership.”
Image caption, The Daily Express says Mr Sunak has accused Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer of planning to “ditch our Brexit freedoms” and “shackle the UK to a fresh EU deal”.
Image caption, The Metropolitan Police has resisted political pressure to ban a pro-Palestinian march set to take place in London on Saturday amid this year’s remembrance commemorations, according to the Times. The paper says the force’s commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, has said the commemorations will be protected but that a ban would require a threat of serious disorder, a threshold that hasn’t yet been met.
Image caption, The Guardian quotes Sir Mark saying that the organisers of the march have “shown complete willingness to stay away from the Cenotaph and Whitehall and have no intention of disrupting the nation’s remembrance events”. It adds that his statement comes “despite a chorus of cabinet ministers, including the home secretary and justice secretary, insisting the march should not go ahead”.
Image caption, “Pray they don’t end up with a riot at the Cenotaph”, reads the headline in the Daily Mail. The paper says Sir Mark’s statement comes “despite fears of violent clashes between the marchers and right-wing activists”.
Image caption, The Daily Telegraph carries a report from Gaza describing a “last stand” by Hamas fighters at a hospital in the north of the territory. The paper says Israeli forces have cornered the few remaining members of a 1,000-strong battalion at the site and quotes one commander, Lt Col Blich, saying Hamas’s forces have proved less formidable than feared. “They talk the talk but they don’t walk so good,” he says.
Image caption, Britain’s accounting watchdog, the Financial Reporting Council, has abandoned much of a planned overhaul of the rules governing corporate practice, according to the Financial Times. The paper says the scrapped plans include greater requirements for diversity reporting and new responsibilities around environmental, social and governance issues. The body’s chief executive, Richard Moriarty, is quoted saying the changes will support “UK economic growth and competitiveness”.
Image caption, The Sun reports that girl group Girls Aloud are planning a “huge comeback” and have filmed a music video ahead of the release of their first single in 11 years. The paper says the single will be dedicated to bandmate Sarah Harding, who died of breast cancer in 2021 aged 39.
Image caption, Jamie Lynn Spears, the sister of singer Britney Spears, is expected to join the line-up of the next series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here, according to the Daily Mirror. The paper says bosses hope she will “spice up the show by lifting the lid on their turbulent relationship”.
Image caption, And the Daily Star leads with a vegetarian who says that eating ten carrots a day has given her an “orangey glow”. The paper says she is now urging people to “ditch unhealthy sunbeds and get a natural tan by snacking on carrots instead”.
Many of Wednesday’s papers focus on the measures announced in the King’s Speech and how they have been received.
According to the Times, senior Tories think the measures in the speech aren’t a “game changer” and may not do enough to revive Conservative electoral fortunes. They want the chancellor to go further and bring tax cuts forward to this month’s autumn statement.
In an editorial, the Daily Telegraph says there were some “eye-catching” proposals, but the paper questions whether they offered the Conservatives a “coherent springboard for a successful bid for re-election”. For the Daily Mail, the speech drew the election battle lines, but the paper also says it’s troubling there is nothing to “quicken the pulse” about the economy.
The Guardian accuses Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of offering old ideas when new ones are needed. It says there are some welcome changes – such as a football regulator – but that “the good is dwarfed by the ugly”, referring to more anti-green measures such as new licences to look for oil and gas in the North Sea.
The Daily Mirror calls the Speech “vapid, shallow and tired” and says it offered only “shabby electioneering” and political gimmicks. It praises some measures, such as requiring serious criminals to attend their sentencing, but said overall the direction was wrong and slow.
The Daily Telegraph carries a report from Gaza describing a “last stand” by Hamas fighters at a hospital in the north of the territory. The paper says Israeli forces have cornered the few remaining members of a 1,000-strong battalion at the site and quotes one commander, Lt Col Blich, saying Hamas’s forces have proved less formidable than feared. “They talk the talk but they don’t walk so good,” he says.
Image source, PA Media
Image caption, Sir Mark Rowley, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has said he can’t ban the pro-Palestinian march planned for Armistice Day this Saturday
The Guardian has more detail about the insistence of Sir Mark Rowley, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, that he can’t ban the pro-Palestinian march planned for Armistice Day this Saturday. The paper says a “defiant” Sir Mark has resisted what the paper calls a “chorus” of cabinet ministers calling for the ban and insisted on the independence of his force instead.
The Times says further discussions between the government and the Met are expected today. Downing Street is said to have asked how Sir Mark reached his decision. The Daily Mail says it hopes Sir Mark’s decision to “give a green light” to the march won’t result in a riot at the Cenotaph. It reports that groups of football hooligans are planning to “protect” the monument in case marchers veer off course.
According to the Financial Times, the accounting watchdog has scrapped plans for a full-scale shake-up of boardroom rules. The Financial Reporting Council says it’s protecting competitiveness, but critics say the move marks the unravelling of long-promised corporate governance reforms.
And the Times reveals that, among women, the joint-heaviest binge-drinkers in the world are British. A new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said one in four British women had at least six small drinks in one session at least once a month. They were matched only by women in Denmark.