Fleet Street rallies around bruised UK PM

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-23 04:28:58|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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LONDON, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Britain's national newspapers gave their reaction Saturday to Prime Minister Theresa May's determined fight-back after leaders of European Union countries rebuffed her plans for a post-Brexit trade relationship.

As Fleet Street gave its take on May's response to a bruising two-day meeting with EU leaders in Salzburg, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a radio interview Saturday it was time for people in the EU to step back from the abyss of a no-deal Brexit and instead sit down and to talk about how "sensible, concrete proposals" can be made to work.

Hunt told the BBC's flagship Today program: "What Theresa May is saying is 'don't mistake British politeness for weakness. If you put us in a difficult corner, we will stand our ground, that is the kind of country we are."

The Daily Express chose an almost Churchillian headline, describing a speech made Friday at 10 Downing Street as "May's Finest Hour".

In a front page commentary, the Express said: "Whatever you think of her Brexit plan Mrs. May's didn't deserve to be treated as an outcast with a begging bowl." It said self-serving EU leaders had turned their backs on the prime minister and insulted Britain.

The newspaper added that a Friday night poll of 21,400 of its readers showed 81 percent support for her defiant stance.

The Daily Mail headlined its front page "The May Ultimatum" saying her steely response had come a day after EU leaders had humiliatingly dismissed her Brexit blueprint. It described May's response as a stirring riposte.

The red-top tabloid Sun headlined their main story "Up Eurs!" a play on words at the way May responded in her fight-back. The Sun said May had frozen Brexit talks until Brussels made her a new offer.

The Times report said a defiant May had raised the stakes with a no deal threat to the EU. Their report said the prime minister had taken Britain to the brink of a no-deal Brexit.

The traditionally Labor supporting Daily Mirror ignored May's speech on its front page, but an inside-page report described her Downing Street speech as a piece of posturing" saying her synthetic anger at Brussels was a bid to save her skin ahead of the Conservative Party Conference which starts next weekend in Birmingham.

May is heading for a showdown with her senior ministers at a Cabinet meeting next week, the Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

It said ministers will call for a "Plan B" alternative to her so-called Chequers Brexit deal, with one source describing the planned Monday meeting as "the crunch point" The newspaper said her cabinet meeting will dominated by Mrs May's Salzburg humiliation.

In its editorial, the Telegraph said: "If the goal of the Salzburg summit was to humiliate the Prime Minister, it was a success. If it was to alter British opinion about Brexit, it was a mistake. The UK does not respond to insult."

It adds: "The next two weeks will now be critical for the future of Brexit... Mrs May has to make it 100 percent clear we won't be bullied into serfdom."