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‘Number’s up, PM’: what the papers say as Gray report looms

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Show caption UK newspaper front pages on Wednesday 26 January. Composite: Various The front pages ‘Number’s up, PM’: what the papers say as Gray report looms The front pages are dominated by twin threats to Boris Johnson after an official report into Downing Street parties triggered a criminal inquiry Samantha Lock Wed 26 Jan 2022 02.50 GMT Share on Facebook

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As Boris Johnson prepares to face possibly the most difficult days of his premiership, the front pages are awash with questions over whether he can survive.

As well as a police investigation into allegations of law-breaking at the heart of government, the prime minister is also facing the imminent release of the Gray report.

Many Tory MPs are awaiting Gray’s findings before deciding whether to add their names to those calling for a vote of no confidence.

The Mirror headlines with “Number’s up, PM” and reports that “Sue Gray has pics of Johnson with wine bottles at No 10 parties as police launch criminal probe.”

The paper says the PM’s political future is “hanging in the balance” and claims the Gray report may be published as soon as Wednesday.

The Guardian takes a similar line, describing the unfolding chaos as “PM’s peril: report looms as police step in over parties”.

The paper says Johnson is “braced for the most perilous 48 hours of his premiership” ahead of the inquiry’s findings.

Guardian front page, Wednesday 26 January 2022 – PM’s peril: report looms as police step in over parties pic.twitter.com/X7ljuX4l89 — The Guardian (@guardian) January 25, 2022

The focus of the Telegraph’s front page is also the Gray report, this time noting the “mounting pressure” faced by Johnson to publish the report in full after the Metropolitan Police cleared the way for its release.

🗞️The front page of tomorrow’s Daily Telegraph:

‘Pressure on Johnson to release full Gray report’#TomorrowsPapersToday

Sign up for the Front Page newsletterhttps://t.co/x8AV4Oomry pic.twitter.com/vmQtTXhGss — The Telegraph (@Telegraph) January 25, 2022

The Daily Express takes a slightly different tack, reporting the Scotland Yard probe into “partygate” allegations has been welcomed by Johnson as a way to “draw a line” under the fiasco. “Yes PM, we all want ‘line drawn under’ partygate’, the headline reads.

Front page: Yes PM, we all want ‘line drawn’ under partygate. #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/iEoR7q1o9g — Daily Express (@Daily_Express) January 25, 2022

The Sun also focuses on Scotland Yard’s investigation into Downing Street parties under the headline “cops probe partygate”.

“Ten Downing Street is now a crime scene after cops yesterday launched a probe into the Partygate scandal,” the paper continues. “PM Boris Johnson faces a police interview over boozy parties during lockdown after Whitehall investigator Sue Gray handed a dossier of rule-breaking allegations to the Met.”

Tomorrow’s front page: Boris Johnson faces police interview over boozy lockdown parties as 10 Downing Street becomes crime scenehttps://t.co/a1ILWcaKaQ pic.twitter.com/Vzvqh0Qspw — The Sun (@TheSun) January 25, 2022

The i newspaper leads with the Metropolitan Police investigation above a photo of an anxious-looking PM.

Wednesday’s front page: PM in peril as police called in#TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/2l5Os6ciSf — i newspaper (@theipaper) January 25, 2022

Veering in a different direction, the Daily Mail calls for a “sense of proportion” over the scandal.

“Senior Tories have called for a ‘sense of perspective’ over the ‘partygate’ row as police launched a formal probe,” the paper adds while contrasting the story against dramatic photos of Russian military operations.

“As Putin taunts West with terrifying military displays, Westminister’s convulsed over whether PM birthday cake broke Covid rules.”

The Times plays it straight: “Johnson faces police interview over parties”.

The Independent follows suits with: “Now police investigate Downing Street parties.”

The Financial Times has “Johnson gears up for survival fight,” quoting one Tory MP as saying: “He believes he’ll get out of this. His optimism is more than skin deep.”

FT UK: ⁦@BorisJohnson⁩ gears up for survival fight as Gray hastens to release findings #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/xYnQWc3huw — Neil Henderson (@hendopolis) January 25, 2022