Newspaper headlines: May’s Russia ultimatum and ‘eggstortion’


The Telegraph

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Most of the papers lead with Theresa May’s ultimatum to President Putin. The prime minister has given Russia until the end of Tuesday to provide a “credible response” to explain why a Russian-made nerve agent was used in the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK.

The Times

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The Times runs through the UK government’s options for “an offensive against Russia” including preparing the ground for a “secret cyber-counterattack”. The paper also reports on the story that Labour MP Karl Turner was accused of slapping a woman’s bottom in 2015 and making “crude comments” about a double mastectomy.

The Sun

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“We’ve Vlad enough” is how the Sun sums up Theresa May’s response. It suggests the UK government could “kick out Russian diplomats”, freeze the assets of Russian oligarchs and remove the licence of RT – the Kremlin-sponsored TV station.

Daily Mail

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The Daily Mail says England’s participation in this summer’s football World Cup has been “put in fresh doubt” after Theresa May accused Russia of a “brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on our soil”. Boycotting the tournament would make Moscow “sit up and take notice”, a former national security adviser is quoted as saying.

Financial Times

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The Financial Times quotes a warning from Theresa May that unless Russia provides a “credible response” the UK would consider the poisoning to be “an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom”. The paper also reports on the end of a “power struggle” at Goldman Sachs as David Solomon becomes the favourite to lead the bank.

The Metro

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The Metro says President Putin is the only world leader with Novichok at his disposal. The nerve agent was used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Theresa May revealed on Monday.

The i

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The prime minister’s ultimatum to President Putin also makes the front page of the i, which quotes Russian state media’s description of the allegations as a “circus show in British Parliament”.

The Guardian

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In addition to Theresa May’s statement on the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, the Guardian also reports that the university strike may be called off. Employers and union leaders have reached an agreement over pensions. The terms of the agreement will now need to be accepted at a meeting of union representatives.

Daily Express

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The Daily Express quotes Theresa May’s condemnation of a “reckless and despicable” attack by Russia. The main photo is of comedian Sir Ken Dodd, who died at the age of 90. The paper reports that by marrying his long-term partner he “had last laugh on the taxman” as spouses do not pay inheritance tax.

The Daily Mirror

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The 14-year-old spat at by Jamie Carragher has “begged Sky not to axe the pundit”, reports the Daily Mirror. The former England defender was filmed spitting at the girl – an incident which has led to his suspension from Sky Sports. Carragher said he was “goaded” but has apologised to the family.

Daily star

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The Daily Star also leads on the Jamie Carragher incident. The paper suggests the footballer “hinted at a secret personal turmoil” in his apology.

The spy poisoning case continues to dominate newspaper front pages.

The Daily Mirror urges Theresa May to “Put-in the boot” saying “we need to see tough action.”

The headline on the front of the Daily Mail asks “how can we go to Putin’s World Cup now?”

The Russian newspaper Pravda talks of the UK and Russia being “on the brink of war”. It thinks the UK cannot forgive Russia for winning the right to host the the World Cup.

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Paul Waugh of the Huffpost website expects Britain to seek a resolution condemning the nerve agent attack at the United Nations.

The Politico website points out that the challenge facing the Prime Minister is to mount an effective response at a time “when the UK’s relationships with traditional allies are strained”.

And that, says the Daily Telegraph, adds up to the “biggest foreign policy crisis since the Falklands”.

‘Only death could get him off stage’

Against such a background, it’s no surprise that the papers display so much warmth as they say their farewells to Sir Ken Dodd.

The Times quotes the comic as having said “anger and despair and depression are the enemy of the joker. My job is to try to dispel those thoughts.”

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He may have inspired John Osborne to write The Entertainer, says the Telegraph, but Dodd’s career disproved its argument that television had killed the music hall tradition.

“He really was the last of the line,” says the Guardian, and, in the view of his peers, “one of the greatest ever.”

“In the end,” it says, “only death could get him off stage.”


The Mail describes the apology given by the TV sport presenter Jamie Carragher for spitting at a 14-year-old girl and her father as the “humbling of a soccer hardman”.

The Daily Express calls him the “spit-shame football pundit”. But the Mirror says the girl’s parents have begged Sky not to sack the former player.

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Anthony Clavane – writing in the Guardian – thinks the episode shows that football has become “a soulless enterprise” and is another sign of the contempt displayed by the superstars of the game for the men, women and children who pay so much to watch them.


Easter is coming and the Sun advises parents, who don’t want to be overcharged for chocolate eggs, to shop around.

It reports that eggs offered for sale by some stores as a three-for-10 pounds deal can be bought more cheaply elsewhere.

With the paper’s usual appetite for puns, the Sun says shoppers are being asked to “shell out more” than they have to – a case of “eggstortion”.

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Puns are on show too when the Times describes how the Goths, Huns and Vandals managed their conquest of Bavaria and other parts of the declining Roman empire.

Archaeologists believe the old picture, of barbarians sweeping in and laying waste, is wrong.

Instead, the DNA evidence suggests that women from Eurasia thought nothing of crossing half a continent to “bag a strapping Bavarian husband”.

Post-Roman Europe was a melting pot, says the Times, and the women acted as a kind of “Hunnytrap”.