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The Papers: ‘No 10 slams attacks’ and ‘royal Netflix rage’

The Papers: 'No 10 slams attacks' and 'royal Netflix rage' thumbnail

By BBC NewsStaffPublishedduration5 hours agoimage captionThe reported power struggle at the heart of Boris Johnson’s government continues to dominate Sunday’s papers. The Observer says new No 10 press secretary Allegra Stratton was left “in tears all morning” following reports Downing Street’s outgoing communications director Lee Cain had criticised her. A close friend of Ms Stratton…

By BBC News
Staff

Published

image captionThe reported power struggle at the heart of Boris Johnson’s government continues to dominate Sunday’s papers. The Observer says new No 10 press secretary Allegra Stratton was left “in tears all morning” following reports Downing Street’s outgoing communications director Lee Cain had criticised her. A close friend of Ms Stratton tells the paper she is “very upset” at the turn of events given she did not even apply for the role – which will see the former journalist face questions from reporters on camera in the new year.
image captionDowning Street has hit back at “vicious and cowardly” attacks on Ms Symonds, according to the Sunday Telegraph. The paper says a “war of words” between Mr Johnson, Mr Cummings and Mr Cain was sparked by a bitter row – fuelled by Ms Symonds’ antipathy towards them. One insider also tells the Telegraph “no decision is ever final” because the PM appears to need to consult his partner – but another source says this claim is “laughable”.
image caption“Turmoil in Downing Street” is how the Sunday Mirror casts its report of events at No 10 this week. The paper alleges allies of chief adviser Dominic Cummings used the phrase “Princess Nut Nuts” as a “cruel nickname” for Mr Johnson’s fiancé Carrie Symonds.
image captionMeanwhile, the PM has promised backbench Tories there will be “no backsliding on Brexit” amid the departures of Vote Leave architects Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain from Downing Street, the Sunday Express reports.
image captionPrince Charles is among the royals angry at the new series of Netflix drama The Crown, according to the Mail on Sunday. Friends of the heir to the throne say the drama is “trolling on a Hollywood budget”. Sources rage to the paper that “fiction is presented as fact” in the TV epic, which it says promotes a “twisted version of events”. The Crown’s fourth series is released later on Sunday.
image captionThe Sunday Times suggests a “chumocracy” rules at the heart of government after finding an influential lobbyist advised health ministers and later sent information about the UK’s coronavirus response to private clients. The paper says George Pascoe-Watson was hired by the Department of Health on 9 April and discussed strategy “daily” with test-and-trace minister Lord Bethell until 7 October. The Sunday Times claims he later sent an email to clients saying he had been “privately advised” about restrictions due to come into force. Mr Pascoe-Watson says he fully declared his private sector role and responsibilities and denies sending information gleaned from calls about test-and-trace to clients.
image captionThe Sunday People reports the last words of Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe who died this week – but says surviving victims believe “Hell is too good for him”.
image captionAnd the Daily Star Sunday rejoices at the return of reality favourite I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here. It reports actress Beverley Callard as saying she is not afraid of any ghostly goings on at the Welsh castle where filming began this week because she is already haunted by Corrie’s Deirdre Barlow.

“Four dinners and a political funeral,” is how The Sunday Times characterises the row which has engulfed No 10 this week, as the papers continue to examine rival accounts of the turmoil at the heart of the government.

At one meal, according to the paper, Boris Johnson was persuaded by his fiancée, Carrie Symonds, and his new press secretary, Allegra Stratton, that he “quite liked” the persona that won him the London mayoralty twice – as opposed to that of being a Brexit “buccaneer”.

At another – which saw Boris Johnson cook sausages and Lee Cain mash “potato and swede into a lumpy accompaniment” – the prime minister urged his now-outgoing director of communications to remember his “duty” to the country and stay with him through the coronavirus crisis.

The Sun on Sunday has a different account of what is described as a “tasty” lunch. Under the headline, “Bangers ‘n clash”, Mr Johnson is said to have offered Lee Cain the position of chief of staff.

But it reportedly ended in a “squabble” after Ms Symonds accused Mr Cain of launching a smear campaign against her. Or, as the Sun puts it, Mr Cain had his sausages and was “kicked out for telling porkies”.

The Sunday Mirror says the turning point in the prime minister’s relationship with his aides came when it emerged the Dominic Cummings’ faction were using a “cruel” nickname to describe Ms Symonds.

When he found out, Mr Johnson is said to have “flipped”.

Renewed focus

There is also a renewed focus on Allegra Stratton. Friends have told the Observer she spent yesterday morning in tears – because she believes Lee Cain told “numerous journalists” over the previous 24-hours she was not the first choice for the role.

Ms Stratton has also been forced to defend her Conservative credentials. She has told the Sunday Telegraph that despite voting for Labour, the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats in the past, she voted for Brexit and describes herself as “a Johnson Tory”.

“What a way to run the country,” says the Mail as it details the “hatreds, tears and tantrums” which led up to this week’s dramatic events.

Despite the drama, The Sunday Express suggests an effort to repair relations between Mr Johnson and backbench Tories may already have begun, with one MP reportedly contacted by Downing Street and assured there will be “no backsliding on Brexit”.

Elsewhere, The Mail On Sunday reports on anger among the royal family at the new series of the Netflix drama, The Crown.

The paper says a Palace insider has called the show “trolling on a Hollywood budget” while some of Prince Charles’ closest confidantes have accused it of exploiting the family’s pain for financial gain.

The Mail says the Duke of Cambridge is also “none too pleased”, while the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were understood to be angry with previous series for depicting events that never took place.

And the Sun on Sunday reveals the England football manager, Gareth Southgate, has been, in its words, secretly battling coronavirus. He reportedly tested positive last month after developing symptoms and self-isolated at his home in North Yorkshire for ten days.

The Sun says he chose to keep the news quiet, letting only a handful of people know.

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