Newspaper headlines: Boris Brexit speech and Oxfam backlash


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Brexit – and Boris Johnson’s ongoing role in it – is back at centre stage for many of Wednesday’s newspapers. The Daily Telegraph says the foreign secretary will say in a speech that EU laws and regulations being imposed on Britain after Brexit would be “intolerable and undemocratic”.

The i

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Mr Johnson’s speech on Brexit also features on the front page of the i, under the headline “Johnson vows to squash Remain insurgence”. It reports that a union chief has warned that “a Boris Brexit would mean Brexile”.

The Times

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The Times leads on the ongoing scandal at Oxfam, with new claims that the charity hired a man who had already been forced out of another British humanitarian agency over claims that, while working in Liberia, he asked the charity’s drivers to drive him to clubs to meet prostitutes to take back to a villa funded by the charity.

Daily Mail

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“Oxfam: Now the Backlash” is the front page headline for the Daily Mail which reports that many major firms are reviewing their relationship with the charity, with Visa and Marks and Spencer issuing condemnatory statements. The paper adds that The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme has threatened to stop its youngsters working in Oxfam shops.

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Empics

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Meanwhile the face of former football coach Barry Bennell dominates the front page of the Guardian, following his conviction for multiple sexual offences against young boys he trained between the late 1970s and the early 1990s.

Metro

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The number of first-time home buyers is at its highest since 2006, according to figures published in the Metro. UK Finance, which represents 300 lenders, said more than 365,000 people bought their first home last year, with an average age of 30 and an annual income of £41,000 a year.

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EPA

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The Daily Express says that rising house prices in the UK show there is a market boom “after the Brexit vote”. Figures published in the paper show the average value of homes rose by £1,000 a month in the last year, with the average house in the UK costing £227,000 in December 2017.

Financial Times

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The Financial Times says that the demand by his own party for South African President Jacob Zuma to stand down is an attempt to “end weeks of political paralysis”. But the paper says Mr Zuma has asked to remain in office for another three to six months and may yet refuse the order completely. “Drawn-out Zexit” is the trail for the FT’s further analysis.

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EPA

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The Daily Star focuses on the resumption of package holiday flights from the UK to Tunisia, three years after a gunman killed 38 people in the resort of Sousse. Reporting that Thomas Cook flights have sold out, the paper uses the headline “Brits fight back on the beaches”.

Daily Mirror

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Members of a Conservative student club at Oxford University are accused of molesting women at a “rowdy event”, the Daily Mirror reports.

The Sun

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And the Sun interviews an Iraqi refugee who claims he arranged hundreds of fake abuse claims against British soldiers in the Gulf. The paper says whistleblower Basim Al-Sadoon took part in a racket to win payouts from the Ministry of Defence.

The front page of the Times claims the charity worker at the centre of the sexual misconduct scandal in Haiti was employed by Oxfam two years after he left another aid agency because of concerns about his behaviour.

It says Roland van Hauwermeiren was investigated by the charity, Merlin, after it was alleged that he used prostitutes in Liberia in 2004. Merlin later joined a separate charity, Save The Children, which says it doesn’t have access to Merlin’s records.

According to the Daily Mail, Oxfam is facing a “devastating backlash” over the scandal, as sponsors, celebrities and donors review their relationship with the charity. The paper’s editorial says questions are also piling up for the watchdogs which “failed to bark” such as the Charity Commission and the Department for International Development.

Huffpost UK claims Oxfam is “scrambling to ensure safety in its high street shops” after admitting “thousands” of volunteers work alongside children without criminal records checks.

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The Daily Telegraph highlights a red line that Boris Johnson will draw in his Brexit speech today. It says the Foreign Secretary will warn it would be “intolerable” for laws to be imposed on the UK by Brussels after it leaves the EU.

The paper’s editorial thinks the speech will offer Mr Johnson the chance to set a liberal tone for the next stage of Brexit, as he outlines “inspiring consequences of genuine political sovereignty”.

A police mugshot of the former youth football coach, Barry Bennell, stares out from the front of the Guardian, following his conviction for multiple child sex offences.

It says six former professional players who were all abused by Bennell were in the packed courtroom to hear the guilty verdicts announced. The Daily Mirror says the paedophile was compared by prosecutors to the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

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Barry Bennell was convicted of 36 charges against 10 boys on Tuesday

With the headline ‘Iraq racket costs you a packet’, the Sun says an Iraqi refugee has blown the whistle on how he arranged hundreds of fake abuse claims against British soldiers serving in the Gulf.

The man describes a “claims factory” run from an office in Basra where false accusations would be made in a bid to win compensation from the Ministry of Defence. He goes on to blame the British legal system for the scam “for making it so easy”.

The Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has told the paper he is “repulsed” by the revelations.

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Finally, if you think the romance of Valentine’s Day is dead, NHS statistics suggest otherwise. The Daily Telegraph is one of several papers to report that conceptions this week will be 5% higher than rest of the year, meaning the NHS sees a “baby boom” nine months after Valentine’s Day.

However, the paper suggests that such passions “may take their toll” as by the end of February “conceptions reach an annual low”.



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