Newspaper headlines: MPs branded 'failures' as cabinet splits

Daily Express

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The Daily Express brands the UK’s politicians “failures” after MPs voted by 413 to 202 – a majority of 211 – for Prime Minister Theresa May to ask the EU for a delay to Brexit. It means the UK may not leave on 29 March as previously planned. The Express says the decision is a “damning indictment of our democracy”.


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Thursday’s vote to delay Brexit has exposed a “cabinet split”, reports the Guardian. Eight cabinet ministers voted against the government’s motion to extend Article 50 – the legal mechanism by which the UK will leave the EU – with the intention of keeping the possibility of a no-deal Brexit alive. The Guardian adds that, for now, Mrs May has “narrowly retained control of the next steps of the process”.


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“Give May just a little more time” is the headline on the front page of the Metro. The paper says the prime minister “secured precious breathing space” for her Brexit deal, which will be voted on again before the EU summit in Brussels next week.


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The Times also leads on the proposed delay to Brexit. The paper reports that Mrs May will ask the EU to delay the departure date “until at least the end of June”. However, the PM has said that if MPs do not back her withdrawal agreement by next week then any extension will have to be considerably longer.

Financial Times

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The vote to delay Brexit “boosts May’s hand”, according to the Financial Times. The paper says that – ahead of the third vote on the PM’s deal – there are signs Eurosceptic MPs “are starting to crumble under the threat of a long delay to Britain’s exit from the EU”.

Daily Telegraph

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The PM may have enjoyed a minor victory on Thursday, but the Daily Telegraph says she now has just “one last roll of the dice”. The paper says “huge pressure” is now being put on the DUP and Tory Brexiteers to “fall in behind the prime minister’s deal” in the so-called third meaningful vote.

The i

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The i leads with the rather minimalist headline: “Brexit delayed”. It says the attorney general will “issue new legal advice” in an attempt to sway the DUP over the potential permanence of the Irish backstop – the insurance policy designed to avoid a hard border in Ireland – which has been a sticking point for the party.

Daily Mirror

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Away from Brexit, the Daily Mirror leads with the headline: “Knife thugs cheat justice”. The paper reports that more than a third of people repeatedly charged with carrying blades are avoiding jail.

Daily Mail

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The Daily Mail reports that David Steel has been suspended by the Liberal Democrats over remarks he made to a child abuse inquiry about the late MP Cyril Smith. Lord Steel said he asked Smith in 1979 about claims he abused boys at a Rochdale hostel in the 1960s. He said he came away from the conversation “assuming” that Smith had committed the offences.

The Sun

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The Sun reports that Felicite Tomlinson – sister of One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson – has died at the age of 18. It is the “second tragedy” to befall the singer, the paper reports, after his mother Johannah died of cancer in 2016.

Daily Star

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A “desperate TV star” is looking for a “stranger to have a baby with”, according to the Daily Star, which says the anonymous “household name” is “broody but sick of men”.

The Daily Express describes the Commons decision to delay Brexit as a damning indictment of our democracy.

With a picture of a packed chamber taking up most of the front page, the headline is simply: “Failures”.

However, the Spectator website says the overwhelming feeling in government last night was one of relief.

With not one defeat, the government could be described as functioning on some level.

That is not a particularly high bar, the Spectator adds, but given how things looked when Theresa May lost control of her ministers and MPs on Wednesday night, it is an improvement.

Nevertheless, eyebrows are raised after seven cabinet ministers – including the Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay – opposed Mrs May’s motion to approve the delay, albeit in a free vote.

The Times points out that Mr Barclay’s decision was all the more remarkable since he had closed the debate for the government urging MPs to support the motion.

The Politico website says it is a sign of the uncharted waters into which Brexit has cast Westminster politics.

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The Telegraph says huge pressure is now being put on the DUP and Tory Brexiteers to fall in behind the PM’s deal to avoid the risk of Article 50 having to be extended by up to two years.

The i reports that talks between the government and the DUP are said to be promising, while a slow trickle of Tory Brexiteers are suggesting they will now vote for the deal.

According to the Financial Times, although many of the 90-odd members of the European Research Group of Tory MPs appear to be reluctantly moving towards the deal, about 20 are unwilling to compromise.

The Times says the DUP and Brexiteers are looking to the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox to give additional reassurances that would allow a route out of the Irish backstop – the insurance policy designed to avoid a hard border in Ireland.

The paper says he is attempting to win them over with new legal advice stating that – under the terms of the Vienna Convention – Britain would be able to end the backstop if it is having a “socially destabilising effect” on Northern Ireland, which would be considered a “fundamental change” of circumstances.

But – the Telegraph adds – the “star chamber” of Eurosceptic Tory lawyers has concluded that the advice is “erroneous” and “badly misconceived”.

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There is dismay at figures showing that more than a third of offenders charged with carrying knives for a second time are being spared jail – despite a “two strikes” law being introduced in 2015.

The Sun asks: “Why are judges letting repeat offenders walk free? And how can police possibly reduce soaring knife crime if courts remove the most powerful deterrent?”

The Daily Mirror says people will be shocked to learn just how many offenders are being let off with the lightest of punishments.

Finally, LED strips have been installed on the pavement at a busy junction in Tel Aviv, Israel, to prevent people glued to their smartphone screens from wandering onto the road and being hit by traffic.

The Daily Mail reports that the lights turn red to tell “phone zombies” when to stop walking, and green when it is safe for them to cross.

The local head of traffic says the authorities cannot force people to take their eyes off their smartphones and onto the road, but this is a way to put the road into their eyes.

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