Skip to content
Home ยป The Papers: PM Summons Met Chief And Starmer Fights For Control

The Papers: PM Summons Met Chief And Starmer Fights For Control

Image caption, Many of Thursday’s papers lead with the ongoing row over whether Saturday’s pro-Palestinian march in London should be allowed to go ahead amid remembrance commemorations. The Metro reports that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak “summoned” Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley to No 10 after warning he would be “held to account” if the march interfered with the commemorations. Sir Mark has said officers will do all they can to protect remembrance activities but that there are no grounds to ban the protest.

Image caption, The Daily Express also reports that Mr Sunak told Sir Mark he would be blamed if the march turned violent and quotes him branding the planned demonstration “disrespectful”.

Image caption, The meeting between the pair is described as a “tense 45-minute showdown” by the Daily Mail. The paper is also one of a number to carry a picture of the Princess of Wales in an army uniform and helmet during a visit to the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards in Norfolk on Wednesday. The visit was the princess’ first since she was appointed the regiment’s colonel-in-chief, a position held by King Charles III when he was Prince of Wales, in August.

Image caption, The Times reports that Home Secretary Suella Braverman has accused the Met of “playing favourites” and taking a softer approach to protests by left-wing groups than those by right-wing ones. Writing for the paper, Ms Braverman says that “right-wing and nationalist protesters who engage in aggression are rightly met with a stern response yet pro-Palestinian mobs displaying almost identical behaviour are largely ignored, even when clearly breaking the law”.

Image caption, A growing number of Tories are concerned that Ms Braverman’s comments on the march will inflame tensions and fuel anger on the far right, according to the i. The paper quotes one serving minister saying that “her job is to calm things” but describing the stance she has taken as “dangerous and totally irresponsible”.

Image caption, The Sun’s front page asks, “Where have all the poppies gone?” The paper says busy rail stations have been left without poppy sellers “amid fears of more pro-Palestine protests” and that Mr Sunak has “urged the nation to rally round the annual appeal”.

Image caption, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is “battling to reassert his authority” within his party amid tensions with some members of his front bench because of his stance on Gaza. The paper says four shadow ministers are prepared to quit “in the coming days” rather than vote against a ceasefire in the conflict, while up to 10 others are on “resignation watch”. It comes after the resignation of Imran Hussain, the shadow minister for the new deal for working people, over the issue. Sir Keir has so far refused to back a ceasefire, saying it would leave Hamas’s infrastructure intact, and has instead called for a humanitarian pause to allow aid into Gaza.

Image caption, The Daily Telegraph leads with a multi-million pound legal action that has been brought against pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca branding its Covid vaccine “defective” and suggesting that claims about its efficacy were “vastly overstated”. The paper says one case is being brought by a man who suffered a brain injury as the result of a blood clot after having the jab, while another is being brought by a man who died after receiving it, adding that the “test cases could pave the way” for more in the future. The paper adds that the World Health Organization has said the vaccine is “safe and effective” for everyone over 18 and that side effects of the sort that have prompted the action are “very rare”. It also notes that independent studies have estimated that the vaccine saved six million lives globally in the first year of its rollout.

Image caption, The mother of Alfie Lewis, the 15-year-old who died after being stabbed near a school in Leeds on Tuesday, fell to her knees and cried “Why?” when she visited the scene on Wednesday, according to the Mirror. The paper describes Alfie as “another victim of the knife crime epidemic” and says the mum of another teenager killed in a stabbing has demanded that the government take action on the issue.

Image caption, The Financial Times reports that Japanese investment company SoftBank paid $1.5bn to the creditors of coworking space provider WeWork in the days before the firm was forced to file for bankruptcy earlier this week. The paper says the payment takes the total that SoftBank has committed to WeWork to more than $16bn since an initial investment in 2017, a move it says has proved “one of the worst venture capital investments in history”.

Image caption, And the Daily Star carries a picture of what it calls a “ginormous size 23 footprint” found in a woodland in Wales. It says the image suggests “monster watchers” have “found Big Foot”.

Many of Thursday’s papers lead with the ongoing row over whether Saturday’s pro-Palestinian march in London should be allowed to go ahead amid remembrance commemorations.

“Braverman brands Met biased over Gaza march” is the headline on the front page of The Times. Writing for the paper, the home secretary accuses the Metropolitan Police of employing “double standards” in its response to protests. Suella Braverman writes that recent pro-Palestinian rallies – which she calls “hate marches” – have been “largely ignored”, while football fans are subject to “tough” policing, and anti-lockdown protesters have previously been given “no quarter”. She also says that pro-Palestinian “mobs” are “an assertion of primacy” for Islamist groups, and that the public expects to see an “assertive and proactive approach to any displays of hate, breaches of conditions and general disorder”.

But according to the i, a backlash against Mrs Braverman is growing among Conservatives. One government minister tells the paper she’s “dangerous and totally irresponsible”. Another MP accuses her of “whipping people up carelessly and callously”, adding that “every time she opens her mouth, she makes things worse”. The Times says some of Mrs Braverman’s comments risk “increasing tensions further”, despite Prime Minister Rishi Sunak “toning down his rhetoric” after meeting the Met Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, on Wednesday.

In its leader column, the Daily Mail praises Mr Sunak for taking what it calls the “unusual step” of warning Sir Mark Rowley he will be held accountable for any trouble at the protest. The Sun agrees that Sir Mark “is effectively gambling his job on keeping order”. But the Daily Mirror says he “understands the concept of freedom better than any Tory”.

According to the Guardian, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is “battling to reassert his authority” within his party as he faces “one of the biggest crises of his time” in the job. The paper reports that four shadow ministers are preparing to quit and as many as ten others are also on “resignation watch” because they don’t want to vote against a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. One Labour frontbencher tells the paper that “someone needs to say enough is enough”.

Image source, Reuters

Image caption, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is ‘battling to reassert his authority’ within his party, according to the Guardian

Other figures within the party tell the Mail that they believe it’s best they use their positions to “ramp up the pressure” on Sir Keir. But in its leader column, the Daily Telegraph says he’d “risk electoral opprobrium were he to buckle now”, insisting that his handling of the situation “will give the country an idea of the sort of prime minister he will make”.

The Times features quotes from a series of interviews with Boris Johnson, conducted by Nadine Dorries for her forthcoming book. Mr Johnson tells his former culture secretary that the government needs a “massive kick in the pants” and that the Conservative Party is “drifting to defeat” under Mr Sunak. The former prime minister describes Mr Sunak as a “stooge” for Dominic Cummings, but insists he’s not bitter about being forced out of office.

The Financial Times has seen a letter sent to the European Commission in which senior tech figures say Apple’s iMessage service should have to comply with the new Digital Markets Act, which obliges certain companies to make their messenger services interoperable with other platforms. At present, only Apple users are able to communicate using iMessage. The paper says executives from Google, Vodafone and other firms argue that the change would “benefit European consumers and businesses”.