Newspaper headlines: ‘Secret Brexit plot’ and Banks tributes


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The Express leads on a “secret Brexit plot” to force MPs to choose between a revised divorce deal or a “long” delay to Brexit. The paper says the comments by the UK’s chief negotiator, Olly Robbins, which were overheard in a hotel bar, have prompted “fury” from Brexiteers as they appear to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

Guardian front page 12/02/19

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The comments also feature on the Guardian’s front page, which describes the prime minister’s tactic as “my way or a long delay”. The paper’s main story focuses on criticism of the Home Office for working with the Zimbabwean government to accelerate the deportation of asylum seekers to the African country.

Metro front page 13/02/19

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The prime minister has been branded a liar and a blackmailer in the Commons after delaying another vote on her Brexit deal, the Metro reports. Theresa May had been expected to put the withdrawal agreement before Parliament on Thursday but told MPs she needed more time to secure concessions from Brussels, the paper says.

Daily Telegraph front page 13/02/19

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The Telegraph reports that the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has swapped “fear for hope”, by saying Brexit could be a springboard to a “new global order” of free trade. The paper says the comments are in “stark contrast” to his previous warnings about the risks of a no-deal Brexit.

FT front page 13/02/19

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The Financial Times has a different take on its front page. Instead, the paper focuses on Mr Carney’s description of Brexit as an “acid test” for the future of global trade that “could go quite badly”. It describes the comments as “his strongest warning yet on the risks of leaving the EU without a deal”. However, the paper’s lead story focuses on Saudi Arabia’s plans to develop an international energy exploration and production business for the first time.

The Times front page 13/02/19

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Brexit is also the focus of the Times’ lead story, which says that the head of MI6 is expected to stay in post beyond his retirement date to guide the intelligence service through the “period of upheaval” after the UK leaves the EU. If the extension is confirmed Alex Younger, 55, will become the longest-serving MI6 chief since the 1960s, the paper says.

The Mirror front page 13/02/19

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The Mirror is one of several papers to lead on the death of England’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks. The paper says his “astounding agility helped him make the best save of all time” – keeping out a Pele header in the 1970 World Cup match against Brazil.

Sun front page 13/02/19

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“He had the whole world in his hands” is the headline in the Sun. The paper says tributes to Banks have “poured in from across the globe”, including from Pele himself, after the footballer died aged 81.

i front page 13/02/19

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The i leads on what it describes as a “cash crisis” at UK universities. The paper says 8,000 jobs have been cut in the past year, with warnings that some institutions could go bankrupt.

Daily Mail front page 13/02/19

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The Daily Mail’s front page focuses on its campaign to “clean up Britain”. The paper thanks the 55,000 readers who have signed up to take part in litter pick-ups across the country.

Daily Star front page 13/02/19

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The Daily Star reports that singer Katy Perry has been forced to drop a range of her designer shoes, amid criticism that they look similar to “blackface” make-up.

Over many pages the papers pay tribute to what the Mirror calls the “rare greatness” of Gordon Banks – England’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper. And – as the paper points out – he was so much more than that.

For the Sun, he was “the goalkeeping god who pulled off the greatest save the game has ever seen” – referring to that Pele header in the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

The Mail says his seemingly effortless ability to prevent a football from entering the net made him the finest goalkeeper England, and perhaps the world, had ever seen.

He was, the Times says, the “gold standard for goalkeeping”.

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Gordon Banks (far left) was part of the World Cup-winning England team of 1966

But Banks is also widely praised for his down-to-earth qualities. The i says that even after the crowd’s roar of disbelief at his gravity-defying heroism in Guadalajara had faded, he never allowed the mystique born in that moment to obscure his humility.

He kept his feet firmly on the ground even when he was catapulting through the air to deny many a striker, the paper says.

According to the Independent website, he was always exceptionally generous with his time when it came to young goalkeepers, whether as a coach, a mentor or simply an old friend.

In the words of the Express, Gordon Banks was a legend and a gentleman.

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The Times says it has learnt that the head of MI6 is expected to stay in post beyond his retirement date this year to guide the service through the post-Brexit period.

According to the paper, Whitehall officials want Alex Younger to extend his appointment to cover the 12 to 24 months after Britain has left the EU.

It points out that Andrew Parker – Mr Younger’s counterpart at MI5 – has agreed to remain as director-general of the domestic security service until 2020.

‘Secret Brexit plot’

A conversation overheard by an ITV News reporter in the bar of the Brussels hotel where the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, Olly Robbins, was staying is widely reported – and makes the lead story for the Express.

According to the paper, he told colleagues that MPs will be made to choose between a revised deal or a “long” delay to Brexit – in effect, ruling out a no-deal scenario.

The Guardian says Mr Robbins may have accidentally revealed Theresa May’s high-stakes Brexit strategy: “my way or a long delay”.

The Huffpost UK website says Mr Robbins’ comments have been seized on by hardline Tory Brexiteers, who warned that “officials advise, ministers decide”.

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Steve Parsons/AFP/.

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Olly Robbins (left) is a key figure in the Brexit negotiations

For its lead, the Guardian says the Home Office has been condemned for working with the Zimbabwean government to accelerate the deportation of asylum seekers, despite high-profile human rights abuses in the country.

Asylum lawyers and charities have told the paper that since Robert Mugabe was forced from power in November 2017, the Home Office has pushed ahead with a removals process for refused asylum seekers, many of whom have been in the UK for over a decade.



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