Newspaper headlines: Harry 'flies to Canada' and Lord Hall steps down

The Guardian Tuesday

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The Guardian leads with the announcement from Tony Hall, the BBC’s director general, that he will step down from the helm after seven years. The BBC has been warned it is now facing a “dangerous moment”, the paper reports, as Conservative MPs such as ex-culture secretary John Whittingdale raised questions over BBC funding and the licence fee. The new DG’s “biggest battle is likely to be over the corporation’s funding,” the paper says.

Financial Times Tuesday

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The Financial Times suggests the timing of Lord Hall’s departure marks an attempt to “steal a march on Boris Johnson and minimise his influence” over who will lead the BBC through negotiations over its funding. But the paper’s top story is on the International Monetary Fund which has slightly cut its forecast for global economic growth for 2020. The newspaper suggests the forecast may overshadow the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The Sun Tuesday

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The Sun devotes its front page entirely to a photograph of the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan, as she walked her dogs with baby Archie on Vancouver Island, Canada. The paper describes her as “beaming” and adds that Prince Harry is flying back to join them.

Daily Mail Tuesday

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The Daily Mail also reports that Prince Harry is flying back to Canada. But its top story focuses on another royal – the Queen’s grandson, Peter Phillips. The paper says he has appeared in two adverts for a dairy firm shown on Chinese TV which described him as a “Royal Family member”. According to the Mail, Mr Phillips did not respond to questions, including as to whether he was paid, and Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

The Times Tuesday

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The Times reports on the case of British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert who was arrested in Iran in 2018 and jailed for spying. The paper says it has seen letters smuggled out of her cell, in which the University of Melbourne academic wrote that she felt “abandoned and forgotten”. She added that she is denied phone calls and visits.

Daily Mirror

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Photos of former couple Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston speaking at the Screen Actors Guild awards feature on many front pages. The Daily Mirror’s main story is on convicted murderer Jeremy Bamber, who claims he has new evidence which proves he could not have killed five members of his family in Essex in August 1985. Bamber says he has the “ultimate alibi”.

Daily Star

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The Daily Star reports on the latest after pranksters momentarily halted play at the Masters snooker tournament on Sunday, by setting off noises from an electronic whoopee cushion in the crowd. The Star says the “jokers” behind the noises “are threatening to hit more top sports events” in a bid to “brighten people’s days”.

The Metro Tuesday

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The Metro splashes on the UK’s counter-terrorism “blitz”, as the government reveals more details about their plans to get “tougher” on convicted terrorists. The paper says among the new measures being promised are lie detector tests, longer prison terms and a ban on dangerous offenders being granted early release. The lie detectors could be used to check terrorists have genuinely reformed, the Metro says.

Daily Telegraph

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The Daily Telegraph also leads with the government’s “crackdown” on those convicted of terror offences. The paper reports that the new rules would mean all of those convicted of preparing or committing a terror offence will face a minimum of 14 years in jail.

The i newspaper Tuesday

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Tuesday’s i newspaper focuses on the HS2 rail project, after a leaked report suggested the cost of it could almost double to £106bn. The paper reports that new Tory MPs from the North and Midlands have called on Boris Johnson to scrap the project and instead spend the money on local transport upgrades.

Daily Express

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Brexit is the subject of the Daily Express’ main story. The paper accuses the EU of “plotting to delay” talks on a post-Brexit trade deal until March. It reports that the UK is ready to begin working on a trade deal immediately, but European officials have warned it could “take some time” before they are prepared.

A range of stories feature on the front pages of Tuesday’s newspapers.

Confirmation that China’s new strain of corona virus can be passed from human to human makes many papers.

The Guardian says the news has fuelled anxiety about the prospect of a “full-fledged outbreak”, while the Financial Times quotes the first statement of the Chinese President Xi Jinping on the crisis – calling for all steps to be taken to contain the virus.

“Hall over now” is the Sun’s take on the announcement that the BBC’s director general, Tony Hall is to step down after seven years in the job.

Its leader suggests that he’ll be remembered as “the BBC boss who betrayed over-75s” by stripping them of the free licences “he promised to” fund.

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Tony Hall will step down from his role in the summer

The i newspaper is among many papers to speculate on possible contenders to succeed Lord Hall – publishing a list of seven “runners and riders”. More than half on the list are female, as the newspaper ponders “will a woman be next?”

The Daily Telegraph’s editorial paints a bleak picture. “The BBC needs to change to survive,” it claims, as it suggests that the new DG will face a “monumental” task, with the future of the BBC less clear than ever.

Meanwhile, in the newspaper’s front page Matt cartoon, corporation staff are shown having a whip-round for the departing Lord Hall. The accompanying caption reads: “A fiver for men and a tenner for women”.


Under the headline “terrorists to be denied early release from prison”, the Daily Telegraph leads with details of what it describes as the government’s “crackdown” on terrorism which will see stricter controls and tougher punishments for the most dangerous offenders.

“Boris blitz on terror” is the Metro’s take as it sets out how lie detectors could be used to check terrorists have genuinely reformed before they are released from prison.

But the Mail’s coverage sounds a note of caution on suggestions that the detectors could also be used to establish whether released offenders have broken the conditions of their parole.

Professor David Canter of Liverpool University points out for the benefit of the paper’s readers, that polygraph tests aren’t 100% foolproof – and that the findings from such tests aren’t admissible in courts as evidence.

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PA Media

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Home Secretary Priti Patel says the government had faced “hard truths” since an attack in London in November

The front page of the Times suggests there are grounds for “growing optimism” over Britain’s economic outlook.

It reports a new assessment by the International Monetary Fund that the British economy will grow faster than that of any other major European country this year and next if there’s an orderly Brexit. The forecast marks a contrast with the IMF’s global predictions.

Under the headline “downbeat IMF outlook diverts Davos focus from climate goals”, the FT reports that forecasts for global economic growth for this year and next have been cut – casting a shadow over the opening of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

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Meanwhile, the Times also reports that the health watchdog has been forced to retract 38 inspection reports into care and nursing homes, mainly in the north of England, after finding that significant sections of them had been “faked”.

The same patient quotes and other duplicate material were found in 78 reports.

Some were allowed to stand after the copied and pasted material was removed – but re-inspections have had to be ordered for nearly 40 homes.

The Care Quality Commission tells the paper that it had identified three individuals who were responsible – and immediately removed them from inspection activity.

Many papers ponder the enormous political headache being created by the HS2 project.

The Financial Times sets out in detail not only the spiralling costs of the line, but also that those funds could provide 200 flagship hospitals, or 1.7 million social homes – as much a stated priority for the government as narrowing the North-South divide.

Hugo Gye’s analysis in the i newspaper is blunt: “Johnson has sat on the fence for long enough”.

He says while the spiralling costs of HS2 had been common knowledge for months, Mr Johnson had avoided making a call on its future ahead of the general election, knowing a decision either way would anger thousands.

Now, says Gye, the PM cannot walk the tightrope much longer and must face a major test rather than “ducking divisive decisions”.

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Getty Images

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Prize-worthy? Indoor plants will have their own category at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show

“Chelsea’s potty idea” is the Daily Mail’s scathing view of a new houseplant category to be introduced by the Royal Horticultural Society at its famously glamorous London show this May.

RHS Director Helena Pettit advises cheerily: “People are increasingly recognising the benefits of indoor greenery.”

But the paper smells a rat, not roses. It paints the change as a bid to appeal to millennials who live in cities and don’t have a garden.

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