IMMIGRATION, the ongoing sleaze scandal and Labour’s chances were the issues raised by columnists in the newspapers.

The Daily Mail

Stephen Glover asked if Boris Johnson cared about the increasing numbers of migrants who are risking their lives by crossing the English Channel.

“An estimated 300 people have died doing so over the past two decades, most of whom had put themselves in the hands of unscrupulous ‘people smugglers’,” he said. “Meanwhile, the case of Emad Al Swealmeen, who died when his bomb detonated outside a Liverpool hospital on Sunday, highlights the problem of failed asylum seekers who may pose a threat to the public.”

He said Priti Patel, who has been Home Secretary for two years and four months, described the asylum system as ‘dysfunctional’ on Tuesday, as though it was nothing to do with her.

“The UK Government indisputably faces a formidable challenge. I’m not at all sure whether, with her penchant for threats she doesn’t carry out, Priti Patel is the best minister to be in charge. Even if she is, she needs more support from the Prime Minister.

“Which brings me back to my question: Does Boris really care?”

The Independent

Cathy Newman said the ongoing Tory sleaze scandal was making the Prime Minister look and sound tired.

“ Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell used to have a rule that if a story made the headlines for eleven days straight, his political paymasters were in trouble. I reckon we’re now on day 16 of this one,” she said. “The flagship policy of “levelling-up” is in danger of unravelling as the government shelves the HS2 extension to Leeds and a new Northern Powerhouse Rail line today. Conservative MPs are starting to ask, now Brexit is done, what is Johnson all about? No one denies being prime minister is a tough job. But there’s plenty who want it. Sir Keir would no doubt be delighted to tow that 747 up Downing Street. He’s not taxi-ing down the runway quite yet, but for the first time Labour MPs are at least contemplating buying a ticket.”

The Guardian

Larry Elliott said inflation has hit its highest level in a decade.

“For most people, prices are rising faster than wages,” he said. “Energy bills are soaring. It’s not hard to see why Boris Johnson has hit the panic button with his plan to ban MPs from holding consultancy jobs.”

He said things could hardly look more promising for Labour.

“That said, Labour still has to convince voters that it has answers to the issues that concern them: paying the bills, job security and decent public services among them. Starmer and his shadow Treasury team are rightly making this a priority.

“The spike in inflation will give the party a chance to be heard: it must show it has a vision for the future that people can believe in.”