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The Papers: Irish border warning and Meghan latest

May 17, 2018
The Telegraph Friday front page
Image caption The Telegraph’s top story follows on from its front page story on Thursday, which claimed that Britain would stay tied to the customs union after Brexit while a solution to the Irish border issue was found. The paper leads on comments from Ireland’s premier, Leo Varadkar, who said avoiding a hard border “requires more than just customs” and the UK must abide by many of the single market rules after Brexit. The paper says his remarks will raise fears among Brexiteers.
The Guardian
Image caption The comments by Ireland’s leader Mr Varadkar also make the Guardian’s front page. According to the paper, the decision to stay tied to the customs union beyond the end of 2020 might not be enough to avoid a hard border, Mr Varadkar said. Checks will still be needed at the border if the UK pulled out of the single market, he added.
Financial Times Friday
Image caption The Financial Times also covers the story. According to the newspaper, senior figures in Brussels have said the UK’s decision is far from the EU’s preferred approach, with one diplomat saying: “If this is it, we will have a crisis.”
The Sun front page
Image caption The Sun splashes with the latest on Meghan Markle’s father for a fourth day in a row. The paper leads with Ms Markle’s statement – which it calls dramatic – in which she expressed her sadness that her dad, Thomas, will not walk her down the aisle on Saturday.
Metro newspaper Friday
Image caption Friday’s Metro has published a full front page photo of grinning Ms Markle and Prince Harry at the rehearsal for the royal wedding. The newspaper reports that despite this week’s confusion over whether Ms Markle’s father, Thomas, will attend, she “looked relaxed”. It also addresses speculation over who might walk the bride down the aisle, saying Ms Markle’s mother is “widely expected” to do the honour.
Daily Mail front page
Image caption The Mail calls Ms Markle’s statement both extraordinary and dramatic, saying the bride-to-be put on a “brave face” after the news her father will not attend the wedding. The paper interprets her statement’s wording – that she had “always cared” for her father – as a rejection of criticism that she had not given him enough support.
The Times Friday
Image caption Meanwhile, the Times reports Britain is considering nearly doubling its military presence in Afghanistan by sending in more Army personnel as part of a Nato training mission. The newspaper says it comes after pressure from US President Donald Trump, after he pledged last year to send an extra 3,500 troops into Afghanistan. According to the report, a final UK plan has not been approved but sources say the PM is likely to make an announcement this summer.
Mirror Friday
Image caption The Mirror claims the government is planning to appoint about 10 new Tory peers into the House of Lords in the coming days, while news headlines are dominated by the royal wedding. The newspaper quotes a source close to the Cabinet Office’s Honours Committee as saying: “It will be a good time to bury bad news.” Three new Labour peers and one from the Democratic Unionist Party are also expected to be created, the paper reports.
Daily Express Friday
Image caption The Express leads with its exclusive story revealing the launch of a new campaign, led by former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, calling for legislation to fit every UK care home with CCTV to protect residents. According to Conservative MP Mr Grieve, putting surveillance cameras in all communal areas would help to tackle elderly abuse.
Daily Star Friday front page
Image caption The lead story for the Star responds to new government rules on gambling, which have reduced the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals from £100 to £2. With its dramatic headline, the newspaper reports that the gambling industry has been left reeling and bookmakers are preparing for big losses, the closures of betting shops and cuts to jobs.
The i front page
Image caption The i is the only newspaper to lead with the latest on the Iran nuclear deal. It reports that the UK is aligning itself with its European allies, who support the deal. The paper asks whether Europe and the US’s different stances could threaten future links between the UK and the US.

Plans for the UK to keep ties to the customs union temporarily after Brexit features on several newspaper front pages, alongside more build-up to Saturday’s royal wedding.

The Financial Times says the prime minister has conceded that Britain will have to remain tied to a customs union after 2021 until an alternative can be found to having a hard border in Ireland.

Under the plan, the paper says, the whole of the UK will be covered by the EU’s common external tariff, removing the need for a customs border in Ireland or between Ireland and the UK mainland.

The Daily Telegraph, which already carried a report on the customs union decision in its Thursday edition, chooses to lead with a warning from the Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.

He says Britain would need to follow many of the rules of the single market after Brexit and not just remain tied to the customs union.

The paper says his comments will raise fears among Brexiteers that Britain may remain shackled to the EU, with the cabinet still divided over the country’s future trading relationship with Europe.

Royal wedding fever

The image of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as they are driven to Windsor to rehearse their wedding adorn most of the front pages this morning.

“Nothing’s going to spoil our big day” is the front page headline in the Daily Mail, referencing the announcement that Ms Markle’s father will not be giving her away. Meanwhile, “I’m sad about Dad” is how the Sun headlines the story.

Many of the papers focus on the arrival in Britain of the bride’s mother Doria Ragland. The Mail reports that the yoga instructor, 61, had a “jolly” meeting with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House. She meets her most esteemed new relative by marriage – the Queen – for tea later on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror claims Theresa May will use the cover of the royal wedding to appoint 10 more Conservative peers to the House of Lords. Under the headline “sneaky, sneaky”, it says the announcement is likely to come while Britain is distracted by events in Windsor.

Image copyrightPA

The possibility of hundreds more British troops being sent to Afghanistan is the main story for the Times.

The newspaper says the decision to consider increasing the military presence follows pressure from US President Donald Trump, adding that the US has repeatedly called on other Nato members to increase their contributions of troops.

According to the Times, Britain and its European allies fear Mr Trump will use the Nato summit in July to threaten to pull out of the organisation in frustration at “feeble” European defence spending.

Meanwhile, the Guardian has learned nearly 100 Wiltshire police officers and staff have sought psychological support following the Novichok nerve agent attack on the Skripals in Salisbury.

Wiltshire’s chief constable, Kier Pritchard, said he and other police officers continued to receive help for more than two months following the incident.

The government’s decision to reduce the maximum stake for fixed odd betting machines from £100 to just £2 is welcomed by the Guardian as long overdue. But the paper says more must be done to ensure the industry behaves responsibly and calls for a ban on gambling adverts around live sporting events.

Image copyrightReuters

But the announcement has not been welcomed by the Daily Star which says the reduction to £2 is too drastic and could mean the loss of up to 4,000 betting shops and with them more than 20,000 jobs.

The Daily Mirror says that instead of threatening to close shops and sack staff, the major bookmakers should be imaginative by finding ways of promoting responsible gambling and making bookies more attractive to visit.

The announcement that ministers could relax planning laws on fracking receives a warm reception from the Sun. The paper says it salutes the government for coming forward with a measure to help firms explore for shale and compel councils to approve it.

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph reports that the cricketing authorities are considering banning what is considered by many an immutable part of the game: the toss.

It is one proposal being looked at by the International Cricket Council in a bid to reduce home advantage in test series. It would mean Australia being given the choice of either batting or bowling first when they next tour England for the Ashes.

And the mayor of Rome has surprised residents by suggesting that hundreds of sheep should be brought into the city to tame its overgrown parks. According to the Times, Virginia Raggi wants to use the sheep as natural lawnmowers to bring the grass in the parks back under control.

But one of her political opponents has warned that she has left it too late to expect sheep to do the job, and what is needed now are camels or even giraffes.

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