Metro front page 22 July 2020

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“Welcome to Londongrad,” is the Metro’s splash headline, reporting the release of a report into Russian interference in the UK. The paper says Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee revealed a “scandal of blind eye to interference by Russians”, as it notes MPs’ description of London as a “Laundromat” for Russian cash.

Financial Times 22 July 2020

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The Financial Times says Downing Street sat on the “long-awaited” report for nine months. The paper reports that No 10 will resist calls to order a review into potential Russian interference into the Brexit vote.

Daily Mail 22 July 2020

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“Now tame the Russian bear,” demands the Daily Mail as the paper reports the MPs’ warning that Britain must face up to Moscow. For the Mail, the report into Russian interference is “devastating”, “shocking” and “scathing”.

i paper 22 July 2020

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The MPs’ assessment shows the “rise of Russia in UK politics”, according to the i. The paper reports Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab as saying the government “will be resolute in defending our country”.

Guardian front page 22 July 2020

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According to the Guardian, the report “damns No 10 and spy agencies over Russia”. The paper says Boris Johnson is facing “intense criticism” over the “damning conclusion” that the government and intelligence services failed to assess Kremlin attempts to interfere with the 2016 EU referendum.

Daily Express 22 July 2020

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But Mr Johnson has dismissed claims the EU referendum was rigged by Russia, reports the Express. It says the PM is sure Moscow had no involvement despite the “explosive report” on Russian meddling. The paper also carries a newly-released photograph of Prince George, who turns seven on Wednesday.

The Times 22 July 2020

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The PM is preparing to give the security services more powers to stop foreign interference following the report’s publication, the Times says. The paper notes the report includes evidence from the former head of MI5, who told MPs foreign agents operated “with impunity” in the UK.

Daily Telegraph 22 July 2020

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The Daily Telegraph leads with remarks by visiting US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who the paper says told MPs the head of the World Health Organization has been effectively “bought” by China. The paper also reports that Britain is close to abandoning hope of Brexit trade deal, with the working assumption now that the UK will trade with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms after 31 December.

Daily Star 22 July 2020

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Sidestepping Russia, the Daily Star carries a pointed headline and the image of Mr Johnson as a clown following the announcement of a bumper pay rise for certain key workers. “Thanks for your help, folks, but up yours!” is how the Star paints the government’s message as it is revealed cleaners, carers, refuse workers and bus drivers will not receive above-inflation raises.

Daily Mirror 22 July 2020

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The Daily Mirror carries the same story, describing the decision to exclude some public sector workers from the wage increases as an “insult to heroes”. It says Chancellor Rishi Sunak has sparked fury by warning of pay restraint as part of an upcoming Spending Review.

Many of Wednesday’s papers focus on the release of a report into Russian interference in the UK.

The Guardian believes Boris Johnson is facing “intense criticism” because of the Intelligence and Security Committee’s conclusion that the risk of Russian interference in the 2016 EU referendum was not taken seriously enough.

In its leader column, the paper calls for a full public inquiry. It is sceptical about the government’s insistence that there’s no evidence of successful meddling, asking: “How would it know if no-one has looked?”

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Getty Images

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Vladimir Putin’s government has denied claims of interference and subversion in the UK

But the Daily Express takes the prime minister’s assurances at face value, with the front page headline: “Boris: no way Russia rigged Brexit vote.”

The paper says the report will come as a “crushing disappointment for the die-hard Remainers”, whom it says claimed the document would be the “ultimate proof of their conspiracy theory, that the Kremlin rigged the 2016 vote”.

The i paper is not as concerned as some of the other papers about the delay between the completion of the report, and its eventual publication.

“If the conclusions were important in October 2019,” it states, “they matter all the more now”.

This is because the UK is, in the paper’s words, “a new foreign policy entity, post-Brexit, with a toughening approach to Beijing and in the midst of delicate trade talks with both the US and the EU”.

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HuffPost UK, meanwhile, says the report was played down so much before its publication “it was a surprise to find it was more hard hitting than some expected”.

The Financial Times hopes the findings will act as wake-up call for the government. “The report is a salutary warning of the challenge still posed by the main foe in the last one,” its leader column says.

The paper believes new espionage laws are needed, and says the security services need the financial and legislative backing to combat the problem.

The front of the Times suggests such moves may be on the way. “MI5 to get more powers” is the headline. Its leader column suggests that the Official Secrets Act is “outdated” and should be overhauled.

WHO claim

On its front page, the Daily Telegraph reports on a claim it says was made by the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a private meeting with MPs.

It says Mr Pompeo alleged the World Health Organization’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak in China was hampered because its director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, had made a deal with Beijing in order to secure its role.

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Reuters

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Boris Johnson’s Europe adviser David Frost has met with EU Brexit chief Michel Barnier

Meanwhile, according to the Daily Telegraph, the government is now working on the assumption that Britain and the European Union will fail to secure a post-Brexit trade deal.

It says that, with the current round of talks in deadlock, senior government sources believe the only chance of an agreement is “if the EU gives ground in the autumn”.

‘A teeny Turner’

Finally, the Daily Mail reveals how a British artist is creating miniature versions of artistic masterpieces. These include a replica of Johannes Vermeer’s Girl With A Pearl earring, four times the size of a thimble.

It says Nell McKay, from Yorkshire, uses a microscope and a brush the size of a pin. The Mail’s headline? “Honey, she’s shrunk the Klimt!”.



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