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Newspaper review: Boris Johnson talks to Donald Trump and ‘threatens’ EU

Sunday Telegraph front page, 25/8/19
Image caption Some papers look ahead to Boris Johnson’s meeting with US President Donald Trump at the G7 summit in Biarritz later, with the Sunday Telegraph reporting the prime minister “laid out terms for a trade deal with America” in a “tense” phone call on Friday evening. “Boris tells Trump: it’s time to help British firms,” is its headline.
Sunday Express front page, 25/8/19
Image caption According to the Sunday Express, a UK-US trade deal is “done”. Whereas the Telegraph says Mr Johnson demanded the US remove “very considerable barriers” to British companies supplying goods to the States, the Express reports that “allies of the US president have made it clear that the two countries are on the verge of a major deal”.
Mail on Sunday front page, 25/8/19
Image caption The Mail on Sunday focuses on Mr Johnson’s later meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk. It says the PM will tell him that – in the event of a no-deal Brexit – the UK will withhold £30bn of the “divorce bill” his predecessor Theresa May had agreed to provide to cover existing EU commitments.
Sunday Times front page, 25/8/19
Image caption The threat “raises election stakes”, according to the Sunday Times, which describes it as a ploy to win over Brexit Party supporters. “The prime minister’s team are working on a populist emergency budget in October, in which fuel duty will be cut for the first time in eight years, paving the way for a general election the same month,” it reports.
Observer front page, 25/8/19
Image caption Meanwhile, the Observer says Mr Johnson has sought legal advice about shutting down Parliament for five weeks. The paper says the plan to suspend Commons sittings from 9 September is designed to stop MPs from trying to block a no-deal Brexit.
Daily Star Sunday front page, 25/8/19
Image caption And the Daily Star Sunday carries an interview with The X Factor judge Sharon Osbourne, who tells of her “heartbreak” at discovering her mother had been held by police for shoplifting as a child.

Sunday’s papers preview a busy day for Boris Johnson at the G7 summit in southern France.

The Sunday Telegraph and Daily Express focus on the prime minister’s breakfast meeting with US President Donald Trump, at which talks are expected to revolve around the potential for a trade deal once the UK has left the EU.

Others look ahead to Mr Johnson’s meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk, suggesting the PM will threaten to withhold £30bn of the “divorce bill” the UK had agreed to pay if he cannot secure a fresh Brexit deal with Brussels.

The Sunday Times says he ordered government lawyers to calculate how much of the £39bn the UK was legally obliged to pay, with that figure as low as £7bn.

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The Observer takes a slightly different tack on Brexit, saying it has seen a leaked email suggesting Mr Johnson sought legal advice on whether Parliament could be shut down for five weeks from 9 September.

It says the email from senior government advisers to a No 10 official was written within the last 10 days – and indicates that shutting down Parliament may well be possible, unless court action to block such a move succeeds in the meantime.

However, a Downing Street spokesman has told the BBC: “The claim that the government is considering proroguing Parliament in September in order to stop MPs debating Brexit is entirely false.”

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Downing Street appears to be looking at another plan to stop MPs from blocking a no-deal Brexit.

According to the Sunday Times, No 10 has “war-gamed” holding an election on 17 October – the same day EU leaders meet to discuss whether to give Britain a new agreement.

It would be preceded by an emergency Budget, in which fuel duty would be cut for the first time in eight years. The Mail on Sunday says the plan involves first deliberately losing a no-confidence vote that the Tories would engineer themselves.

According to the paper, the Conservatives want to be able to say that the election was forced on them by Labour – but the prime minister’s inner circle suspect Jeremy Corbyn could back out of a no-confidence vote because he no longer has the numbers to win it.

‘Unvarnished truth’

Prince Andrew’s statement about his friendship with the disgraced financier and convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, leaves few of his critics satisfied.

The Sun dismisses it as pompous, nonsensical rambling. If he thinks it will “end questioning over his relationship with a paedophile, he better think again”, the paper declares.

Image copyright News Syndication

The royal author, Angela Levin, writes in the Mail on Sunday that Prince Andrew’s sympathy isn’t going to help any of the young girls that Epstein abused to get justice.

She calls on him to tell the “unvarnished truth” about what he knows.

Not so smart?

Finally, it seems householders have been experiencing problems with the newer versions of smart meters that tell you how much gas and electricity you have used.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, several suppliers have begun receiving reports that they often display bizarre and inaccurate readings, causing some customers anxiety and frustration.

One customer was baffled when his device told him he had used £46 in a day, despite his direct debit being set at £40 a month.

The paper says the head of smart meters at one of the Big Six suppliers recently told a meeting that his home display switches off when he turns on his dishwasher.


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