Boris Johnson’s face beams from the front pages of almost all the papers after he became Tory party leader and soon-to-be prime minister.
Many of Wednesday’s papers use the same photograph of Johnson on the steps of No 10 waving with his right hand and giving a thumbs-up with his left, the gesture caught at an odd moment to make it look like he is giving a bizarre salute.
The Metro’s headline is: “Don’t panic!” and invites readers to “Meet the new dude* at No. 10”, a reference to the cringeworthy moment in his victory speech when Johnson outlined his plans for the country in acronym form: “Deliver Brexit, Unite the UK, Defeat Corbyn, Energise Britain”.
The Daily Telegraph also carries the dude line. “I’m the dude*” says the paper’s headline, with an asterisk down the page to spell out the acronym’s promise. The paper looks ahead to Johnson’s cabinet, saying he will “begin assembling a majority Brexiteer Cabinet as he clears out Remainers to end ‘self-doubt’” and tips Priti Patel as a contender for a senior job.
The Times (“Johnson goes to work”) leads its story with his apparent impending promotion of Patel, whom the paper says is “on course to be made home secretary”.
The Sun also picks up on the dude moment in Johnson’s speech and uses it to riff on the Beatles song, Hey Jude. Their headline in full is: “Naa naa naa na-na-na-naa Hey Dude! Don’t make it bad”.
Several papers mention the fact that this is a long-realised dream for Johnson’s.
“An ambition fulfilled. But what next for Britain?” asks the Guardian, which says that Johnson “had already begun ‘love-bombing’ sceptical centre-ground MPs last night” and carried quotes from a Johnson ally that at his heart Johnson was a “one-nation Tory”.
The i has “Power at last” and says that while Tory hopes had been “rejuvenated by [his] landslide win and Brexit vow”, there was a “backdrop of furious reaction against his appointment”.
The Daily Mail features the saluting picture of Johnson and compares the gesture to that used by the late comedians Morecambe and Wise. Its headline is a play on song performed by the beloved duo: “Now bring us sunshine!”
The paper says that Johnson “will achieve his boyhood dram of becoming prime minister this afternoon” but faces “a daunting in-tray, which includes leaving the European Union in 100 days, defusing the crisis with Iran and reviving his party’s electoral fortunes”.
The Express carries a warning for “EU bureaucrats and doom-mongers”: “Hang on to your hats… here comes Boris!” The paper reports Boris’s pledge to work “flat out” to get the UK out of the EU by the October deadline and his pledge to unleash “a new spirit of can-do”.
The Mirror is clearly extremely unimpressed with the result and has dug through the archives to find some of the less serious and less flattering pictures of Johnson, including the infamous shot of him in a blue helmet and harness, dangling from a zip wire, waving flags. “Boris Johnson, prime minister. It’s really not funny any more.” is their headline.
The Independent’s digital front page is incredibly striking and one of the most negative about Johnson’s ascendancy. It features a cartoon of Johnson as Winston Churchill smoking a cigar while the country burns in the background. “Just 100 days to avert no-deal disaster. A border conundrum that cannot be solved. And the new prime minister? Welcome to Brexit’s darkest hour.
The FT leads with the IMF’s response to Johnson’s victory (“Johnson wins race for No 10 as IMF warns over no-deal Brexit”), reporting the IMF’s comments that “a no-deal Brexit” – which Johnson has threatened to do if a deal with the EU cannot be reached by 31 October – “ranked alongside US trade policy as one of the chief threats to the world economy”. It also highlighted Trump’s celebration of Johnson’s victory and the US president’s description of Johnson as “Britain Trump”.
In Scotland, the National’s headline is “This country does not need you” and leads says “Boris Johnson must be the last prime minister of Scotland. The Scotsman’s headline is fairly straight: “Johnson sweeps to power” but also reports comments from Nicola Sturgeon that she may accelerate plans for a second independence referendum.
Only the Daily Star decided not to lead with the political story, instead running a story about Coronation Street and previewing its third-day story on the seagull that allegedly snatched a chihuahua in Devon.