Newspaper headlines: PM 'forced to backtrack' on masks and 'Harry's shame'

By BBC News

  • Published
1px transparent line
Boris JohnsonImage source, Reuters

"Mess after mess. U-turn after U-turn," is how one Tory MP, quoted in the Times, responds to the latest change in government policy on education.

The unnamed Conservative - who the paper claims is usually loyal to the party - says "it's an issue of competence... there is no grip". The i newspaper calls the change in advice a "climbdown".

The Guardian says that by bowing to pressure over the wearing of face masks in English schools, Boris Johnson is risking "a major backlash from Conservative MPs".

The paper believes minsters should have listened earlier to the advice of the World Health Organization - and it accuses the prime minister of "slapdash hype and prickly isolationism".

Both the Daily Mail and the Daily Express lead on the prime minister's defence of Rule, Britannia! and Land of Hope and Glory. The BBC has insisted the decision to use instrumental versions at the Proms this year has nothing to do with political correctness.

But the Daily Mail accuses the BBC of "trashing our most cherished traditions" and says it's proof that the corporation is out of touch. The Daily Express declares "Hands off our heritage".

The Daily Telegraph asserts that the BBC has "no interest in the opinions of older viewers, the working class, Brexiteers, or of the great mass of British people who do not think our history is a source of shame".

The Guardian says the veteran broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby has accused Mr Johnson of stirring up a "Trumplike culture war".

The website Guido Fawkes reports that a version of Land of Hope and Glory by Dame Vera Lynn has reached the top of the iTunes chart.

Image source, Getty Images

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire is pictured on many of the front pages after his conviction for assault. It's the lead story for the Daily Mirror, Metro and the Daily Star.

The Mirror's chief football writer, John Cross, says the defender's international future is in serious doubt after he lost his place in the England squad.

The Star says England manager Gareth Southgate was forced into an embarrassing climbdown after initially supporting his player, and his judgement will be questioned.

Image source, Parliament TV
Image caption,
The head of England's exams regulator, Sally Collier, has quit over the exams chaos

The Times claims that the head of the exam regulator Ofqual, Sally Collier, who resigned over this summer's exam problems, may return to a role at the Cabinet Office.

An "education insider" quoted by the Guardian is sympathetic, saying Ms Collier had been "given an impossible job" of both limiting grade inflation and giving candidates the grades they deserved.

The London Dungeon tourist attraction has been accused of idolising serial killers by offering free entry to the namesakes of notorious murderers, including Harold Shipman and Rose West.

Charity Victim Support says offering the deal is insensitive to the families of victims. The namesake deal is also being offered at the company's eight other dungeons, including Blackpool, Warwick Castle and York.

A spokesman for the London Dungeon says they don't make light of the severity of the crimes committed by multiple killers - but wanted to compensate those who shared their names with nefarious characters from history.

Image source, Getty Images

And, finally, birds don't sing just to mark out territory or find a mate but because they enjoy it, according to research reported in the Times. It's claimed they enjoy it most when it sounds like freeform jazz.

Biologists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison say that when birds are practising they try out different songs, adding and dropping notes, and that this sort of singing is the most rewarding.

They based their conclusions on a study of European starlings - and say that giving birds opioid drugs to induce pleasure triggered high rates of gregarious singing.