Many of Friday’s front pages focus on the prime minister’s plan to reform the asylum system. “Inhumane… And It Won’t Work” is the headline in The Mirror, which says the idea of moving desperate refugees to Rwanda is “dredged from the sewers of political muckraking”. The Times says the government wants the first flights to take place within weeks and for tens of thousands of people to be moved in the next few years.
The Guardian, which pictures a soldier helping migrants arriving at Dover on Thursday, reports that government insiders were hoping to announce the proposal months ago “to move attention away” from the original scandal about parties at Downing Street. It adds that by exploiting the “old divisions of the Brexit years”, the Conservatives hope to paint Labour as soft on immigration.
The i says there are “serious questions” about the legality of the scheme, which may undermine the UK’s commitments under international treaties. One immigration expert tells the paper that there are so many obstacles around safeguarding and legal aid that the project will be “too complex to get off the ground”.
But The Mail says Boris Johnson has vowed to take on “left-wing lawyers and naysayers” who it claims are “lining up to thwart” the plan. In its editorial, it says the proposal is “bold and imaginative” and that it “offers a sliver of deterrence to illegal migrants”, even if it should ultimately fail.
Several papers have details of the surprise visit the Duke and Duchess of Sussex paid the Queen and Prince Charles on Thursday. The Express says visitors to Windsor Castle were “taken aback” to see Harry and Meghan – who made the stop en route to the Netherlands, where they’re due to attend the Invictus Games for injured service personnel.
The Sun describes the meeting as “top secret” – with the aim of clearing the air after “a series of broadsides from across the Atlantic”. One royal commentator tells the paper it was an appropriate day to go – because Maundy Thursday is about forgiveness.
And The Telegraph gives its readers paws for thought – thanks to new research from Japan. Experts at Kyoto University wanted to find out if cats knew the names of other cats in their household as well as their own – and experimented by showing those familiar feline faces on a computer screen while a name was called out. The cats tended to stare at the picture longer if the name was wrong – suggesting they were confused and knew they didn’t match. The scientists think that cats probably also have some capacity to learn the name of their owners, although they don’t yet know how.