A leader ‘running scared’ as ‘chaos’ ensues: The papers give their Brexit views

The "complete chaos" over Brexit leads papers both at home and abroad after Theresa May canned a Commons vote on her deal.

The Prime Minister is referred to as "desperate", "running scared" and "truly stuffed" after pulling the vote over fears it would be lost by a "significant margin".

Covering a dramatic day in the House of Commons, the Daily Telegraph riffs on Margaret Thatcher's 1980 conference speech with the headline: "The lady is for turning".

The paper's front page also features a column from Allison Pearson, in which she opens with: "Oh, for God's sake, what fresh Brexit hell is this?"

It adds: "Tory MPs who want to save their party, not their leader (they can't do both), should submit a letter to Sir Graham Brady ASAP.

"May must go before it's too late. Last week, the Government was found in contempt of Parliament for the first time in history. Yesterday, it earned the contempt of the whole nation."

Inside the paper, former Conservative leader William Hague writes the party is "on the edge of its greatest crisis in modern times", while the leader of the Democratic Unionists in Westminster Nigel Dodds questions whether Mrs May has been listening to concerns about the Withdrawal Agreement.

Lord Hague writes: "Some of us have used the last two weeks to argue that the Prime Minister needed to look beyond the current Withdrawal Agreement and seek a better deal.

"We were ignored by Downing Street. The Prime Minister did not listen."

The Daily Mirror writes that the delay is "cowardly" and futile", with its leader saying: "The national good is all but forgotten in the PM's need to save her own skin and her desire to preserve the modern Tories – that splintering coalition of venal interests that caused this mess and keeps on making it worse."

The Times writes that Mrs May will "beg" European leaders as she attempts to salvage her deal.

Inside the paper, a sketch on Mrs May's speech from Patrick Kidd says the atmosphere "was like a vet's surgery after a family has been told that ol' Fluffy isn't going to pull through".

He adds: "An hour after her statement, Santa Claus was seen slipping into Downing Street. Technically he was there for a children's party but perhaps he had something in his sack for the PM, who naively still believes in Christmas miracles."

Overseas, and Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter contains an opinion piece which says that "Brexit is on its way to becoming a farce of intrigues and misunderstandings", while Svenska Dagbladet writes the situation has gone "from great uncertainty about Brexit to complete chaos."

Mrs May makes the front page of Aftenposten in Norway, with the centre-right paper calling the cancelled vote a "desperate measure to buy time", while the left-wing Klassekampen carries an interview with a retired bus driver Roy Potter from Dover, who is calling for a Norway-style deal.

"Fears its all over for Dover", reads the headline with the paper referring to the Brexit plan "hanging by a thread".