“This Meat Loaf I keep hearing about – is it the name of a new plot against Boris?” is the caption accompanying the Daily Telegraph’s Matt cartoon, as it covers the death of the rock singer and the continuing pressure on the prime minister – with a nod to this week’s so-called “Pork Pie Plot”.
The Times reports Boris Johnson has reinstated the team that helped him win the Conservative leadership, “to save his premiership”. It says the group – which includes Transport Secretary Grant Shapps – is compiling a spreadsheet detailing the stance of every Conservative MP.
The Daily Express says the prime minister will spend the weekend at Chequers “shoring up” support, with his diary cleared to allow him to speak directly to MPs.
Meat Loaf’s death is the lead for several papers. Describing him as a “swashbuckling showman”, the Daily Mirror says he died of complications with Covid.
The Sun says he was “a bit of a one-trick pony” but acknowledges when his “unparalleled holler” came on, “we sang along, drove a bit faster and bought millions of records… no matter which era”.
In its main story, the Daily Telegraph reports that the attorney general is to seek an injunction against the BBC to prevent the corporation from broadcasting a story about espionage. A hearing is expected to take place in secret at the High Court in the coming days.
The BBC tells the paper the proposed story is “overwhelmingly in the public interest”.
“NHS in talks on jabs U-turn”, is the Weekend i’s front page lead. Sources have told the paper a temporary suspension of the requirement for all front-line NHS staff in England to be fully vaccinated is being “actively” looked at in Whitehall.
The i suggests more than 80,000 workers are yet to have one jab. But a government source said its position remained unchanged, adding ministers are “cracking on” with the policy.
The FT Weekend says holiday firms including Thomas Cook and Jet2 are gearing up for a “surge” in bookings for the February half term, because ministers are expected to remove the day two lateral flow test for fully vaccinated passengers returning to the UK.
Government officials say unvaccinated travellers will still be required to test on days two and eight and the passenger locator form is likely to remain in a simplified form.
“Time to spike the tax hike”, declares the Daily Mail. The paper says MPs and businesses have joined its campaign to scrap April’s national insurance increase.
Former Conservative minister David Jones said the hike would put “far too much pressure on families”, while Mike Cherry, from the Federation of Small Businesses called on the government to “take stock” of inflationary pressures and change course.
And finally, the Daily Telegraph reports that the Church of England is to vote on new laws making it easier for vicars to to install cushions, kneelers and carpets.
Currently, such changes require the Church’s equivalent of planning permission but officials believe the furnishings could help towards the 2030 net zero target. The Telegraph suggests, if approved, the changes would be quite literally a new “softly-softly” approach.