Newspaper headlines: 'Joy' over prospect of summer holidays for Britons

By BBC News

  • Published
A pro-democracy demonstrator raises his British National Overseas (BNO) passports during a protest against new national security legislation in Hong Kong, China June 1, 2020.Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Mr Johnson said the UK would "have no choice" but to uphold its ties with the Hong Kong

The coronavirus pandemic continues to lead many of the papers - but not completely.

The lead for the Times is Boris Johnson's pledge to offer nearly three million people in Hong Kong enhanced visa rights and a potential path to British citizenship, if China pushes ahead with its controversial security law.

"Many in Hong Kong fear that their way of life is under threat", Mr Johnson writes in the paper, adding: "Britain could not in good conscience shrug our shoulders and walk away."

By using such language, the Times says, the prime minister has made the row a "matter of national honour" - which represents a "dramatic escalation of the confrontation with Beijing."

The Daily Telegraph focuses on the prime minister's domestic agenda, reporting that after a "chaotic fortnight" he is to take direct control of the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Tory MPs, the paper reports, say it could weaken the influence of his controversial chief aide Dominic Cummings.

"Cummings is not in a brilliant place", one explains, "and knowing that makes Boris more determined to do it himself."

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps have put their names to an article in the Daily Telegraph, making the case for the government's much-criticised quarantine policy.

"These measures are informed by the science, backed by the public and are essential to protect public health", they write.

The joint article is intended as a "show of unity", the Telegraph says.

But it also reports many Conservatives want so-called travel corridors to be rapidly established to get round the restrictions.

The Telegraph says Home Office sources were keen to stress last night such corridors might not be possible by the end of this month - a position that the paper says "may spark a Tory rebellion."

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Sunny weather has brought many people to the UK's beaches, but many Britons are wondering when they can go abroad

Meanwhile, the Daily Star is encouraged that overseas trips could soon be back on.

"Don't forget your toothbrush!" is its front page headline, below an image of a suitcase adorned with the names of alluring destinations, including Majorca, New York… and Barnard Castle.

"Save our summer holidays!" is the headline-cum-demand on the front of the Daily Mail.

It reports that Boris Johnson has told ministers to "keep alive hopes" of breaks abroad amid a "backlash over his quarantine plan."

A Downing Street source tells the paper: "We will be guided by the science" before adding "but the PM does not want to be standing in the way of people's holidays unnecessarily."

Meanwhile, many of the papers deride the huge queues of MPs that formed on Tuesday - dubbed the "Mogg Conga" - as they waited to vote in person on whether to continue voting in person. 

"A tinge of chaos hung in the air", says the Daily Mail's sketch-writer Henry Deedes. "Think Stansted Airport on August bank holiday, though sans screaming toddlers, thank goodness."

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Many MPs had to queue outside Parliament before voting because of social distancing rules

For the Guardian, it's no laughing matter. Fewer MPs can physically attend parliament than participate online, and the process is much more time-consuming, it says.

"Mr Johnson has seized an opportunity in a crisis to concentrate power rather than diffuse it", the paper concludes.

In its editorial, the Telegraph suggests it "may not have been a complete waste of time", pointing out that lengthy waits have become commonplace for many people during the epidemic.

"Having to queue like the rest of us should make MPs rethink the rules", its editorial argues.

Elsewhere in the paper, the Telegraph suggests the pressures of the coronavirus crisis appears to be straining marriages - with one legal advice firm reporting a 40%increase in divorce inquiries during lockdown. 

Concerns about finances, employment, as well as having to spend an increased amount of time together can add strain on relationships, a family law expert explains.

The i newspaper considers the impact of the pandemic on universities.

Sir Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, tells the paper it is "comfortably... the biggest crisis ever in the history of universities."

Administrators are wrestling with the difficulties of distance learning and a reduction in foreign student income, he says.

Meanwhile students face their own hardships, such as "virtual freshers' weeks", which - the paper points out - means "no pub crawls."

If universities need advice on how to successfully adapt to the requirements of social distancing, it seems they should not look to the Commons for inspiration.

Pubs reopening?

The Sun claims to have some welcome news for many. It says it has been privy to a "secret blueprint to unshutter the nation's boozers", drawn up by the Department for Business.

It could see pubs fully reopen by the end of June, the paper says, albeit with orders placed remotely via an app.

One landlord - Greg Grundy, of The Egremont in Worthing - says there is definitely demand from customers.

He tells the paper: "It'll be a scramble for stock. There's an unquenchable thirst for pub beer out there."

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports UK food bank charities had their busiest month ever at the start of the coronavirus lockdown.

The Trussell Trust says demand went up 89%, while for the Independent Food Aid Network the increase was 175%.

They appeal for an emergency cash support scheme to help struggling low-income households. A government spokesman tells the paper ministers have taken significant action to support those affected by coronavirus.

And finally, if we humans are struggling, then at least the sea horses are doing OK - according to a report in the i newspaper.

Sixteen of them have been spotted at Studland Bay in Dorset - compared to none in 2019 and 2018.

The key has been the absence of human activity, the paper says, with the "lure of calm, quiet waters during lockdown coaxing the spiny seahorses back."