Neil challenges PM to ‘oven-ready’ interview

Image caption BBC presenter Andrew Neil’s on-air challenge to Boris Johnson makes several of Friday’s front pages. On Thursday, Neil directly asked Mr Johnson to take part in a sit-down interview with him before the 12 December general election. The Daily Mirror asks of the prime minister: “How can anyone trust him?” Mr Johnson denies suggestions he is avoiding scrutiny.
Image caption “Oven-ready and set to grill” is the Metro’s take on Neil’s monologue after he interviewed Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage on Thursday. Mr Johnson is the only leader of a major party not to have faced a half-hour primetime BBC One grilling.
Image caption The Guardian say the running theme of Neil’s questions would be trust. The paper also highlights a “worldwide surge” in measles outbreaks, with nearly 10 million cases and 142,000 deaths last year.
Image caption The Times leads on four former Brexit Party politicians who are urging voters to back the Conservatives in the general election. MEPs Annunziata Rees-Mogg, Lance Forman and Lucy Harries quit on Thursday, while MEP John Longworth lost the party whip on Wednesday. Nigel Farage has accused the group of plotting against him since Mr Johnson was elected, the paper says.
Image caption The Daily Mail argues the move was part of a “crushing day for Corbyn” because the MEPs opted to back the Tories – as it emerged 70 current and former Labour officials have given sworn statements to an official investigation into the party’s handling of anti-Semitism allegations.
Image caption The Daily Telegraph splashes with a submission by the Jewish Labour Movement to the anti-Semitism investigation. Jeremy Corbyn says processes in Labour to deal with allegations have “improved a great deal” and that he “completely rejected” allegations he had made the party “a welcoming refuge for anti-Semites”.
Image caption The i carries an interview with Mr Corbyn, with its front page declaring it is “crunch time” for the Labour leader. Inside, Mr Corbyn makes an appeal to wavering Labour voters. “Think what the last nine years has done to your community and your society,” he tells the paper.
Image caption The Daily Express’ front page focuses on a letter from Mr Johnson to Mr Corbyn challenging him on his Brexit policy ahead of a head-to-head leaders’ debate on the BBC on Friday. The prime minister has accused the Labour leader of a plan to “fiddle” a second referendum.
Image caption Meanwhile, the Sun’s front page shows London Bridge terror attack victim Jack Merritt with John Crilly, a former prisoner who he was mentoring. The paper adds that Crilly fought back against attacker Usman Khan with a fire extinguisher after seeing Mr Merritt being stabbed. Crilly had his murder conviction quashed in 2018 after 13 years in prison and is on parole for manslaughter.
Image caption The Financial Times’ lead says oil company Saudi Aramco has raised a record-breaking $25.6bn in its initial public offering. The paper also claims Labour would make no deals or coalitions in the event of a hung Parliament at the general election.
Image caption Finally, the Daily Star reports Dawn French and Lenny Henry’s daughter has appeared in court charged with harassment of her ex-boyfriend. Billie Henry denied a charge of engaging in controlling or coercive behaviour, the paper says.

Several of Friday’s papers cover Andrew Neil’s appeal to Boris Johnson to agree to an interview with him.

“BBC challenges chicken PM” is the Daily Mirror’s take as it accuses the prime minister of “running scared”.

The Metro deploys a different animal metaphor, nicknaming Mr Neil the “BBC rottweiler”. It describes his “on-air challenge” to Mr Johnson as “unprecedented.”

The number of violent deaths in London this year – 133 – has surpassed 2018’s total, the Daily Telegraph reports.

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The “grim milestone” was passed yesterday, when a man in his 20s was stabbed to death in Hackney, in the east of the city.

Last year had itself been the deadliest year for a decade, the paper says.

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Media captionWhat Andrew Neil wants to ask Boris Johnson

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has told the Financial Times that – in the event of a hung Parliament – Labour would not form any coalitions or make any deals.

Instead, it would seek to form a minority government and challenge other parties to “make up their minds” on each policy.

“Let’s see if the Lib Dems vote against the real living wage at £10 an hour,” he tells the paper.

The FT’s lead story focuses on the £25.6bn raised by Saudi Aramco, the country’s state-owned oil firm, in its initial public offering.

It is a record amount, the paper says, eclipsing the record set by the Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba.

But it gives the company an overall valuation well short of the $2tn craved by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

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The Times is among the papers to cover the death of Dmitry Obretetsky – a Russian tycoon who was knocked down by a car as he walked back to his mock-Georgian mansion in Surrey.

Police are not treating it as a hit-and-run and no arrests have been made.

But, as the Mirror puts it, it’s the latest example of death “stalking Russian oligarchs exiled in Britain”.

From Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 to the apparent strangling of an Aeroflot executive last year, a “string of wealthy and fugitive Russians living in the UK”, the Mirror says, “have met grisly ends”.

A friend of Mr Obretetsky has suggested to Russian media that he was “targeted”.

So, the Sun reports, there are fears he was killed on President Putin’s orders. “Was it Vladdy murder?” the paper asks.

Libraries shutting down

Almost 800 public libraries have closed in Britain since 2010, according to figures published in the Guardian – a reduction of around a fifth.

Since the start of the Tory government’s austerity drive, the paper says, the number of library visits has fallen too, from 315 to 226 million.

It points out that Boris Johnson told the BBC last weekend some local authorities, including his own, have been able to “manage their finances so as to open new libraries”.

If getting to a library is proving harder, then perhaps those interested in a challenging read could instead head to Muse restaurant in central London.

The Daily Mail says it offers what could be Britain’s “most pretentious menu”.

Costing £145, each of the 10 courses are accompanied by what the chef calls a “gastronomic autobiography”, referencing for example a childhood memory of a tree.

The problem, the Mail, says is that the “flowery text” gives diners only the “vaguest hints” about “what you’ll actually be eating.”.

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