Newspaper headlines: Donald Tusk’s Brexit ‘hell’ comments on front pages


Several papers seize on European Council President Donald Tusk’s assertion that there would be a “special place in hell” for “those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan of how to carry it out safely”. The Guardian says the “unscripted comments” triggered a “vicious war of words” ahead of Theresa May’s visit to Brussels.

Metro front page, 7/2/19


“All hell breaks loose,” is the Metro’s take on the story. It quotes Commons leader Andrea Leadsom calling on him to apologise for the “spiteful” comment and Sammy Wilson, of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, branding Mr Tusk a “devilish trident-wielding Euro maniac”.

Times front page, 7/2/19


It has all left Theresa May “braced for a bruising encounter with European leaders”, according to the Times. It says the prime minister does not believe she will receive any additional help from Brussels in time for next week’s Commons votes over her Brexit approach.

Daily Telegraph front page, 7/2/19


In the Daily Telegraph’s view, Mr Tusk’s comments “sabotaged” the PM’s mission to seek concessions from Europe. Separately, the paper says it has learned that, if Mrs May were to secure a tweaked deal, she would delay the MPs’ vote on it until a month before the UK was due to leave the EU, “putting MPs under immense pressure to back it”.

Financial Times front page, 7/2/19


Meanwhile, the Financial Times says business leaders are “infuriated” by the Department for International Trade’s failure to conclude trade deals with most non-EU countries in time for the scheduled Brexit date of 29 March. “Even deals with big trading partners such as Canada and South Korea are in doubt,” the paper says.

Daily Mail front page, 7/2/19


The Daily Mail tells the story of a man who “raced 180 miles from London to Devon” by bus, Tube and two trains to be with his mother who had broken her hip in a fall, only to arrive an hour before the ambulance. It is, says the paper’s headline, “A journey to shame 999 service”.

Daily Mirror front page, 7/2/19


The Daily Mirror presents a different story of shame. It leads on “despatches from 24 hours on the homeless front line which will horrify the nation”, finding a mum whose unborn baby “died of the cold”, a builder who broke his back and lost his job, and a wife evicted on her birthday among those sleeping rough.

Daily Express front page, 7/2/19


A number of children with cystic fibrosis are pictured on the front page of the Daily Express, which asks: “How can a row over money deny them a longer life?” MPs have joined the fight to make US “wonder drug” Orkambi available on the NHS, the paper reports.

The i front page, 7/2/19


Meanwhile, the i reports that a new NHS screening regime promises to cut the number of women diagnosed with cervical cancer by a fifth, saving thousands of patients. “More accurate tests will spot warning signs sooner – and let low-risk women be screened less often,” the paper reports.

Sun front page, 7/2/19


The Sun focuses on a letter that the Duchess of Sussex is said to have written to her father. It quotes “pals” of Meghan saying she begged estranged Thomas Markle to stop “victimising her” with public outbursts.

Daily Star front page, 7/2/19


And the Daily Star quotes EastEnders star Danny Dyer saying he binged on so much crack cocaine and booze that he was “slowly committing suicide” before being given a role on the soap.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar warned Donald Tusk he’d get “terrible trouble in the British press” for saying there was “a special place in hell” for some Brexiteers.

And the papers have delivered.

“To hell with EU” is the Sun’s message to the European Council president.

“We knew one of the EU’s leaders is a staggering drunk – turns out the other is a staggering fool,” says the paper in its editorial, which concludes that “these sneering, sniggering goons are exactly why we voted as we did on June the 23rd, 2016”.

“Eurocrat from Hell” is how the Daily Mail describes Mr Tusk. “What a time to be indulging in gratuitous mud-slinging,” says the paper, adding that “such incendiary language, at this crucial moment, risks sabotaging an 11th-hour deal over the Northern Ireland backstop”.

A Bob cartoon makes clear the Daily Telegraph’s distain for Mr Tusk. It shows him being escorted down a staircase by the devil, who tells him: “Our deepest, foulest pit is reserved for smug little hypocrites.”


The Times offers a more sympathetic interpretation of his remarks. This “spasm of frustration at the British political class” came from the heart, writes the paper’s Brussels correspondent Bruno Waterfield.

Mr Tusk, he adds: “Speaks as the representative of 27 EU leaders…who knows the extent of deepening despair at the incoherence of British politics.”

The Guardian takes a different approach, asking: “If he’s right, who is most likely to end up roasting in the eternal fires?”

It goes on to rank the most likely candidates. Ex-foreign secretary Boris Johnson gets the highest rating, for promising voters what the paper describes as “sunlit, unicorn-rich uplands” after Brexit.

Another whose chances are fancied is the former Brexit secretary David Davis, who it says “promised no downside” to leaving the EU.

‘National scandal’


The Daily Mirror dedicates seven pages to what it calls the “national scandal” of Britain’s homeless.

Its reporters from across the UK have written moving accounts from people living on the streets. Among them is a woman from Northampton who says her unborn baby died because of the freezing conditions, and a builder from Cardiff who lost his job as a roofer when he broke his back.

In its editorial, the paper pins the blame for high levels of homelessness on “a government which has stopped caring”. Communities Secretary James Brokenshire tells the paper that “ending homelessness in its entirety is his priority”.

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Cancer test ‘revolution’

The “i” reports on a “smear test revolution” it says is set to save thousands of lives.

The paper says research suggests a new more accurate screening regime, being rolled out by the NHS, could cut the number of women being diagnosed with cervical cancer by a fifth.

The Daily Express explains that the new method – which involves testing for the human papilloma virus – was found to be 50% more effective at detecting abnormal cell growth then current methods.

Smaller portions?


Several papers report on the success of new, smaller portions of fish and chips – which have even been touted as a food of choice for dieters.

“Fish and chips can be enjoyed without your waistline taking a battering,” reports the Daily Mail.

Researchers at Newcastle University found the new “Lite-Bite” boxes, which contained only around 600 calories, went down well with customers during trials in the north of England.

But the Sun isn’t impressed. “Cod help us!” cries its headline… “now do-gooders are cutting our fish ‘n chips”.

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