Stitch-up or humiliation? Newspapers react to Luxembourg press conference

PUBLISHED: 09:46 17 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:52 17 September 2019

Front page to the Metro. Photograph: Twitter.

Front page to the Metro. Photograph: Twitter.

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Boris Johnson's trip to Luxembourg has made headlines in Tuesday's newspapers with some calling it a 'humiliation" and others an 'ambush'.

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Johnson travelled to Luxembourg for his first face-to-face meeting with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker since entering Downing Street.

But it was an afternoon press conference - where Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel continued despite Johnson pulling out a speech due to the noise of protesters - which has become one of the main talking points.

The Daily Mail leads with the headline Le Stitch Up, referring to Bettel's actions as a "calculated diplomatic snub".

The paper's leader column adds that Brussels is "playing with fire" if it wills Johnson to fail.

The column says: "The prime minister came in peace - to begin negotiations over risotto for an eleventh-hour Brexit deal with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

"Instead, he found himself served up as the dish in a media stunt designed to publicly humiliate him.

"The prime minister must keep his calm and remain focused on a deal. In doing so, he forces his opponents to show their true colours. Whatever happens, he must not be the cause of failure."

MORE: Boris Johnson's empty Luxembourg lectern is already a meme

"No wonder Britain voted to quit the EU" runs the headline in the Daily Express, while the Daily Telegraph says Johnson walked into an "ambush".

Their leader, similar to that of the Mail, questions whether the EU is serious about wanting a deal with Johnson's UK.

"His working lunch with Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier was an opportunity to reset the negotiations and put them on course for an agreement by October 31," it says.

"Instead, there was a deliberate attempt to humiliate the British prime minister by staging a press conference from which he was absent.

"The 'empty lectern' approach adopted by Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg's prime minister, was hardly a friendly or constructive act."

The Sun refers to the EU's "snakes", saying that "decency and courtesy" saw seen the press conference moved inside, while the Daily Mirror calls Mr Johnson a "hulking great mess", with its leader saying "Boris Johnson is not the Incredible Hulk, he's the Incompetent Sulk".

"If he can't take the heat, he should get out of the kitchen. This is a moment in history when a statesman is needed, not this big baby," it adds.

The Metro ran with the headline that "it all ends in jeers".

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