Newspaper review: 'Maymentum' in Tory race and 'Welsh dragons roar'

Many of Saturday's front pages point towards the Conservative leadership contest developing into a two-horse race - with Theresa May as the frontrunner and Andrea Leadsom as the dark horse.

Michael Gove's campaign is judged by some to be faltering, with those papers reporting that supporters of Boris Johnson are refusing to back the man who had intended to support Mr Johnson's campaign but then decided to stand himself.

The Daily Telegraph says energy minister Mrs Leadsom is now emerging as the pro-Brexit choice in the party.

Mr Gove "has been ostracised by MPs furious at what they regard as an act of 'treachery' following his decision to abandon Mr Johnson at the 11th hour", it reports.

Mr Bean or Mr Radical?

At his campaign launch event on Friday, Mr Gove was "unapologetic", the Guardian says.

"He said he had come to the conclusion that he simply could not recommend the former London mayor to friends or colleagues."

Much is made of Mr Gove's speech - with very different interpretations placed on it depending on which paper you read.

The Daily Mirror, under the headline "I'm Mr Bean", highlights how he told voters he lacked charisma and glamour and had never had ambitions to be prime minister.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Michael Gove launched his campaign on Friday

In its editorial column, the paper argues: "Michael Gove wants to be prime minister, but he wouldn't get a job running a whelk stall with that application."

But the Daily Express saw it as a "radical speech" in which he pledged to "take back control of our borders".

"Mr Gove set out a broad agenda for power, but made delivering Vote Leave's referendum promises his central plank," it says.


Reading time for Boris

Image copyright Dominic Bastyra

The Guardian says Boris Johnson, who abandoned his campaign bid on Thursday, looked "deflated and defiant as he strode through a London street on Friday, heckled by a member of the public about the mess he had left the country in".

He cried "nonsense" and "rubbish" to claims that he should be the one taking responsibility for Brexit, the paper says.

And his only words about Michael Gove: "I wish him every possible success."

Mr Johnson also found time for some reading during a journey on the Underground - as this photo by Dominic Bastyra shows. Something to do with politics and a "knifing" it appears.


Heading for No 10?

"Maymentum!" declares the Daily Mail, which has already come out in support of Theresa May, of the way it sees the Tory contest developing.

It says she already has the backing of 88 MPs - 22 more than the combined number of the four other candidates put together - and is almost certain to make it to the final vote of party members.

"May heads for No 10," according to the i's front page headline, adding: "Top Tories rush to unite around the home secretary."

Inside, Andrew Grice says Mrs May stands to benefit from Mr Gove having "killed politically two of his long-standing friends" in David Cameron and Mr Johnson.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Theresa May took time out to visit the Henley Regatta on Friday

"Tory MPs would be forgiven for asking what he does to his enemies," he writes.

"May offers stability and a port in the raging Tory storm. Many Tory MPs are now rushing towards it."

According to the Times, ministers and senior Tory MPs are discussing whether Mrs May could be installed as Tory leader without a vote by grassroots members, if she has overwhelming support in the parliamentary party.

'Serious clash'

But the Sun, in its editorial column, argues: "That would be a disaster - and would show contempt for the British people.

"With Mrs May - a Remain supporter originally - as one name on the ballot, the other simply has to be a longstanding Brexiteer.

"A May vs Gove contest would allow a serious clash of philosophies, tactics, personality and skills that would give the winner a mandate for real change."


Vokes of confidence

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sam Vokes's late header clinched victory

"Bale's dragons roar into last four", "Dragons in Dreamland" and "History Boys" are just some of the headlines to greet Wales's charge into the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

The "Welsh Wonders" came from a goal down to beat highly fancied Belgium 3-1 on a historic night in Lille.

Wales's only previous appearance at a football championship finals was at the 1958 World Cup, when a goal by Brazil's Pele knocked them out in the quarter-finals.

'Band of Brothers'

Naturally, coming just days after England were humiliated by Iceland at the Euros, the sports writers are quick to draw comparisons.

"Heroic Wales showed the character, spirit and talent missing in the England team as they reached dreamland," says the Daily Star.

"Whereas the Three Lions turned into scared pussycats having gone behind against Iceland, the Red Dragons fired themselves.

"Unlike Roy Hodgson's fractured squad, this was a band of brothers."

Image copyright AP
Image caption The Welsh players celebrated with their fans after the win

The Sun calls it the greatest ever win for the "Princes of Wales".

The paper's Martin Blackburn says the Wales fans sang "Are you watching England?" after Hal Robson-Kanu had put them 2-1 up.

"If the Three Lions fans weren't, they should have been.

"After Sam Vokes made it 3-1, it is fair to say they could learn a thing or two from these guys."

Coleman for England?

Dave Kidd, writing in the Daily Mirror, says of manager Chris Coleman's team: "They have been everything Roy Hodgson's flops were not.

"Confident. Courageous. Cunning. Thrilling. And winning."

And how about this for a cheeky suggestion? The Daily Star's Jeremy Cross suggests England should give "serious consideration" to asking Coleman to be their next manager.


What the commentators say

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Media captionLucy Fisher, senior political correspondent at the Times, and Reuters correspondent Tom Bergin join the BBC News Channel to review Saturday's front pages.

Fallen thousands remembered

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Stunning pictures and moving prose fill many of the inside pages of the papers, as they reflect on the events, at home and abroad, marking 100 years since the start of the Battle of the Somme.

Images that catch the attention include children standing alongside row after row of the graves of fallen soldiers in Thiepval, France.

From there, the Times's Valentine Low writes: "[People] came not just with reverence, but music, poetry, love and medals to mark the centenary of one of the deadliest battles of all time.

"Ten thousand people, led by a royal party..., gathered in a small clearing that 100 years ago saw some of the fiercest fighting of the battle."

Image copyright Getty Images

Writing in the i, historian Andrew Roberts says "the doleful centenary" puts "our own present day woes into their proper perspective".

"Our commitment to Europe was paid in the blood of thousands in those days, rather than merely in the financial price of access to the single market.

"Our lives are immeasurably better now, and it is largely thanks to the sacrifices made 100 years ago."

In Pictures: Battle of the Somme centenary commemorated

Image copyright Getty Images