Newspaper headlines: ‘No regrets’ for Dominic Cummings and shops set to reopen


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The government’s “crisis” surrounding special adviser Dominic Cummings’ decision to drive from Durham to London during the coronavirus lockdown is raging “unabated” after an “extraordinary” press conference, the Guardian reports. While No 10 had hoped the briefing would draw a line under the issue, “his appearance raise yet more questions” about the circumstances of his 260-mile trip, the paper says.

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The Daily Telegraph comes to a similar conclusion – pointing out that Mr Cummings “made a series of admissions likely to draw further scrutiny of his decisions”. Mr Cummings said he drove his family to his parents’ farm in County Durham out of fear he and his wife would become incapacitated by coronavirus and unable to care for their four-year-old son, after his wife became ill.

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“Stay elite” reads the Metro’s headline with a very familiar yellow-and-green background – a cheeky spoof of the government’s “stay alert” message. The paper quotes Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth as saying: “It really is one rule for the PM and his elite friends and another for the rest of us.”

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The i says an “outpouring of dismay” from some scientists, government ministers, medics and police has followed Mr Cummings’s revelations. It adds that, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he regrets the “confusion and anger and pain” that his aide’s decisions might have led to, “people will make up their own minds” about it. “No regrets” the headline reads.

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On a similar note the Daily Mail’s headline is “No apology, no regrets”. It says the conference was a “rose garden roasting” and asks how Mr Cummings – or, as the paper labels him, the PM’s “defiant svengali” – can survive in his post in the face of “public fury”.

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Beneath an almost identical headline, the Daily Mirror’s lead story has much the same spirit as the Mail’s. It describes Mr Cummings as “shameless” for “refusing to quit or even apologise” for his behaviour.

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Meanwhile, the Sun’s lead focuses not on Mr Cummings but on plans to reopen shops in England. Outdoor markets and car showrooms are among those that will be open for business from the beginning of June, the paper explains as its front page showcases an “Open for business” sign and the upbeat sub-headline “Brits urged to go and spend”.

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Another paper choosing to lead on the shops story is the Daily Express – with a “hurrah!” in its headline. It says the prime minister has “given the green light” for the country to move into the next phase of the government’s “road map out of lockdown”.

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Firms that will not be allowed to reopen so soon include hairdressers, nail bars and hotels, the Times reports – as the “risk of transmission is higher” in such places. The paper also claims Mr Johnson has told cabinet ministers that people will be able to hold barbecues and garden parties at the end of June, with a limited number of guests.

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Businesses will be able to open again only once they have passed a risk assessment to ensure social distancing measures can be followed, the Financial Times says. Reporting on the Cummings story, the paper says the aide spoke to the media to attempt to “calm a scandal that has threatened to derail attempts to restart the economy”.

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Although the Daily Star leads on a story about trophy hunters, its splash image focuses on Mr Cummings. “Madness on the beach” and at other crowded beauty hotspots is because people have decided “Dom says it’s fine”, the paper suggests.

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