image captionThe planned easing of lockdown rules in England on 21 June makes several of Wednesday’s front pages, including the i newspaper. It says there is hope that any potential delay will be limited, because of young people’s keenness to get vaccinated. There was a spike in interest in the jab booking system after it opened to under-30s, the paper says. But sources tell the paper it is currently too close to call whether the reopening will happen.
image captionThe Guardian says Chancellor Rishi Sunak is willing to accept a delay of up to four weeks – but that ministers will continue to scrutinise data on cases and hospitalisations in the coming days. Mr Sunak is more concerned that the reopening must be permanent when rules are lifted, the paper adds. The main front page picture is of the baby boy named Artin who died in the English Channel as his family tried to reach the UK.
image captionOne person who is not keen on a delay to lockdown easing is theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber, who tells the Daily Telegraph he will reopen his theatres without social distancing later this month “come hell or high water” and is even prepared to be arrested for doing so. He said theatres’ finances were suffering and he has already remortgaged his London home.
image captionThe Daily Mirror looks at the potential impact on weddings if there’s a delay to the 21 June date. It suggests 50,000 weddings could be at risk by a four-week delay – and the cost to the industry could be £325m every seven days. Ceremonies are currently limited to 28 guests plus the bride and groom.
image captionThe Times focuses on the government’s advice to travellers, after minister George Eustice said that Britons should “holiday at home” because of the spread of coronavirus variants. The paper says the government is being accused of a U-turn on foreign travel and causing confusion. It also quotes an Algarve tourism official who says that of the more than 100,000 Covid tests carried out at Faro airport as British holidaymakers headed home, six were positive.
image captionThe Daily Mail suggests it has a dossier of Covid data that “Boris cannot ignore” when deciding whether to lift the lockdown rules. But its top story is on the reports that students at Oxford University have removed a picture of the Queen from their common room. The paper says the decision was taken because students felt the portrait “represents recent colonial history”.
image captionThe Daily Express also runs the report, saying the students have sparked fury by their decision. It says the image has hung for decades in the common room at Magdalen College.
image captionThe deal agreed by the G7 group of rich countries to make big companies pay more tax makes the front page of the Financial Times. The paper says Chancellor Rishi Sunak fears it could affect the global banks headquartered in the City of London so he is hoping to get an exemption for financial services.
image captionWednesday’s Metro leads with the news that more than 800 suspected criminals have been arrested worldwide after being tricked into using a fake messaging app run by the FBI. The paper says hundreds of gangsters in Britain are among those who have been arrested in the sting. Detectives spent 18 months intercepting 27 million messages – and huge amounts of cash and cocaine have now been seized.
image captionAnd the Daily Star announces a “new space race”, following the news that Amazon’s billionaire founder Jeff Bezos is planning to take a trip in a rocket later this year. The paper says Richard Branson from Virgin – who set up Virgin Galactic – is planning to beat him to it.