Newspaper headlines: 30 days to do a deal and HS2 'heading for buffers'


Newspaper headlines: 30 days to do a deal and HS2 ‘heading for buffers’


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Several of the front pages lead on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s suggestion that an alternative to the Irish backstop plan could be found within 30 days. Mr Johnson has called for the backstop – which aims to avoid a return to physical checks at the Irish border – to be removed from any Brexit deal. The i says the meeting has raised hopes the EU could renegotiate but it predicts a “cooler reception” in France, where Mr Johnson is meeting President Emmanuel Macron later.

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Mr Johnson has welcomed Mrs Merkel’s “blistering” timetable and said the onus was on the UK to find a solution to the border issue, the Telegraph reports. The paper says Mrs Merkel’s comments were seen as a “victory” for the prime minister and the prospect of reaching a deal could also help him fend off Tory rebels if Jeremy Corbyn calls a no-confidence vote in his government.

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The Express sees Mrs Merkel’s proposal as a “major concession” and an “unexpectedly warm offer of help”. It suggests the deadline could mean finally finding a solution to the “Brexit chaos”.

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Mrs Merkel has called the prime minister’s bluff, according to the Daily Mirror. It describes Mr Johnson as “stunned” in his reaction to the German chancellor’s demand that the UK must find a realistic alternative to the backstop.

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The Guardian highlights that Mrs Merkel has now put “the responsibility for the UK crashing out of the EU firmly at the prime minister’s door”. The paper says her “tentative olive branch” was set against a background of “pessimism” in France, with officials warning a no-deal Brexit was now the most likely outcome.

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The Times also predicts that France will adopt a harsher position than Mrs Merkel. President Macron has warned a no-deal Brexit would be of Britain’s own making and a trade deal with the US would represent a “historic vassalisation” of the UK, the paper reports.

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The Daily Mail is more optimistic, declaring in its headline: “Can we do it? Ja, we can!” The paper describes the developments as a “Brexit boost” for Mr Johnson, who it says has “immediately accepted” Mrs Merkel’s challenge.

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The Metro leads on news that the government is launching a review of the £56bn HS2 rail project, warning it could be “heading for the buffers”. At least £7.4bm has already been spent on Britain’s biggest infrastructure project – but the review will consider whether it should be cut back or even continue at all, the paper reports.

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The cost of servicing the debt of developed countries has sunk to its lowest level for more than four decades, the Financial Times reports. The paper says the sharp decline is putting pressure on governments to borrow and spend more in order to jump-start the flagging global economy.

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The Daily Star has a more unusual Brexit story on its front page, reporting that football pundit Ian Holloway has blamed Brussels for the sport’s new handball rules. The ex-Blackpool manager claimed the controversial rule change had been forced on the UK by the EU, the paper says.

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The Sun has a story about a tan addict who was refused a £70,000 loan after mortgage brokers discovered his £500-a-month obsession. Karl Dinis, 37, has spoken on TV about how he injects illegal tanning drugs and lenders found out by searching his name online, the paper reports.

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