image captionThursday’s i newspaper describes Boris Johnson as downbeat about the plan to lift all lockdown rules in England on the planned date of 21 June. It says the chances of the reopening going ahead are fading, and the prime minister will make a decision on Sunday night after the G7 summit finishes. Scientists are warning Downing Street that the UK could still face a threat from a “substantial third wave”, the paper adds.
image captionGovernment sources are also suggesting the outlook for 21 June was more pessimistic, the Guardian reports. But its top story is on Matt Hancock, who is set to appear before MPs later to defend his handling of the pandemic. The paper has spoken to some of the UK’s largest care home providers who say they repeatedly warned Mr Hancock’s department about the risk of not testing residents before they were discharged from hospitals.
image caption“Why so glum?” the Daily Mail asks Boris Johnson, as it reports three pieces of good news which it says gives a huge boost for the case to end lockdown on 21 June. It says a record 1.1 million vaccine appointments were booked in a single day; an NHS boss expressed confidence that jabs have broken the link between infections and deaths; and the head of the Bank of England said the economy was booming.
image captionThe Times reports that even if the lockdown easing on 21 June is delayed, unlimited numbers will be allowed at weddings. But its top story reports that US President Joe Biden ordered officials to issue Boris Johnson with a diplomatic rebuke – something rarely exchanged between allies – for “inflaming” tensions amid the row over part of the Brexit deal called the Northern Ireland protocol.
image captionThe Financial Times says President Biden will put pressure on Mr Johnson to work with the EU to resolve the stand-off later, saying Mr Biden has “deep” concerns that it could endanger peace in NI. Boris Johnson is set to meet US President Joe Biden later, before the G7 summit begins on Friday.
image captionThe row between the UK and EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol, which could soon see sausages from Great Britain banned from entering NI, also makes the front of the Daily Star but it delivers it in its unique way. “Euro chiefs wave their chipolatas in our faces,” is its headline, with the story going on to add: “And these guys really take their chipolatas seriously.” The paper’s thought for the day adds: “What’s the wurst that could happen?”
image captionThe Daily Mirror says it is joining a campaign to save a pub in Lancashire, which needs to be bought by Sunday or will be lost. The paper says nearly a fifth of pubs face being closed by August after being devastated by the pandemic. Locals need to raise £75,000 in days to buy it.
image captionThe Metro’s front page brings the latest from the court case of Danyal Hussein, who is accused of killing Nicole Smallman, 27, and Bibaa Henry, 46, in north London last June. It says the court heard that Hussein killed the two sisters after believing he’d made a pact with a demon promising to “sacrifice” women in exchange for winning the lottery.
image captionThe Daily Express’ front page is on the royals, following the headlines about whether Prince Harry and Meghan had spoken to the Queen before naming their newborn daughter Lilibet, her nickname since childhood. It notes that Thursday would have been the Duke of Edinburgh’s 100th birthday.
image captionAnd the Daily Telegraph reports that more than 150 lecturers at Oxford University are boycotting one of the university’s colleges and refusing to teach its students in protest at the decision to keep the statue of Cecil Rhodes. There have been calls to remove the statue of British imperialist Rhodes at Oriel College, saying he represented white supremacy. The rebel lecturers have been accused of “academic blackmail”.