There is a lot of focus on the tensions between Theresa May and her Brexit secretary in Thursday’s papers.
The Daily Telegraph says David Davis is in “open rebellion” and refusing to be the frontman for the prime minister’s plans for a customs “backstop” to avoid a hard Irish border.
The paper says Eurosceptics in the cabinet feel they’ve been “bounced” into accepting the “backstop”, which would tie Britain to the customs union in the event that there is no deal with the EU on customs arrangements.
Allies of Mr Davis are quoted as saying he’s been treated “appallingly”, and that Mrs May is “storing up trouble”. An unnamed senior Conservative adds: “There is going to be an almighty row.”
According to the Times, the prime minister kept other Brexiteer cabinet ministers – including Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and Michael Gove – in the dark over her “backstop” plan until just hours before it was due to be published.
But she had shared it with leading Remain-supporting ministers, including the Chancellor Philip Hammond at the weekend.
The Daily Mail reports that Mr Davis had inconclusive talks with Mrs May last night, described as “very difficult” and “very stern on both sides”.
It suggests that he could be on the brink of resignation – and that that could in turn trigger a vote of no confidence in Mrs May within days.
The Sun also says Brexit Secretary David Davis is in “open revolt” with Theresa May.
The paper says the two of them are “locked in a stand-off” after the prime minister rejected his demand for a precise time limit on EU customs rules.
Both the Financial Times and the ‘i’ call it a “showdown”. The FT reckons that Mrs May is willing to face down her Brexit secretary by going ahead with publication of her customs plan.
But while some papers suggest that Mr Davis is on the verge of quitting, the Sun reports that he told friends last night he would stay and fight the “people trying to box me in”.
In an interview in the Guardian, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says the prime minister has decided to give the NHS a “significant increase” in its budget to coincide with its 70th birthday next month.
Mr Hunt acknowledges that the Health Service needs extra money to tackle chronic understaffing, cope with an ageing population and improve care.
He says Mrs May intends to show the Conservatives can be trusted to run the NHS, by fulfilling her pledge of a long term funding plan and ditching the 1% annual rises it’s received since 2010.
“She is unbelievably committed”, he tells the paper.
Both the Sun and the Daily Express lead with the story of a 100-year-old widow who died after being attacked by a mugger who stole her handbag.
Zofija Kaczan, who moved to the UK from Poland after World War Two, was walking to church in Derby when she was shoved to the ground and suffered a broken neck.
The Sun describes her as the latest casualty in the rise of violent street crime in what it calls “Lawless Britain”.
Noting that Mrs Kaczan had survived Nazi occupation during the War, the Express asks: “What sort of animal can brutally rob a woman of 100?”
The Mail – on page four – pays tribute to its editor, Paul Dacre, who, after 26 years in the job, has announced he’s to step aside to take on “broader challenges” within Associated Newspapers.
The paper’s proprietor, Lord Rothermere, describes him as “the greatest Fleet Street editor of his generation”.
The Mail observes that, under Dacre, it has won the Newspaper of the Year award on seven occasions – more than any other title.
The Telegraph calls him a “titan… the most influential newspaper editor of the modern era”.
The Guardian doesn’t demur – it says Dacre has exerted “enormous leverage over public life” with a relentless focus on what he believed to be the concerns of middle England.
The Daily Mirror leads with the story of a pilot who was hauled off a British Airways plane bound for Mauritius in handcuffs, by armed police.
Julian Monaghan, who’s 49, was found to be four times the legal limit for flying.
Magistrates in Crawley heard that Monaghan said he’d drunk just one vodka and tonic 10 hours earlier to help him take a nap.
But the chairman of the bench told him there was a “very high chance” that he’d be jailed when he was sentenced next week.
They may have been legendary hellraisers in the past, but for the Rolling Stones, reports the Daily Mail, pre-concert demands seem no longer to focus on alcohol, cigarettes and well-dressed women.
Instead, the veteran rockers have a more humble request – a nice shepherd’s pie.
During their current tour, both Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards have posted pictures of their pies – in personalised dishes, kept on warming trays.
As the Mail puts it: “It’s only shepherd’s pie but I like it!”