A red-eyed John Bercow appears on a number of Tuesday’s front pages, photographed during his emotional resignation speech from the Speaker’s Chair in the Commons.
Much like the MPs who heard it, only half of whom applauded, the commentators are divided. The Financial Times and the Guardian note Mr Bercow’s role in empowering backbenchers and the Daily Mirror says history will be kinder than his enemies.
Ian Dunt, writing on Politics.co.uk, says Mr Bercow was the right man in the right place at the right time: an activist Speaker when the government worked actively to dismiss, degrade and eventually suspend Parliament.
But the Times calls Mr Bercow a polarising figure, while the the Daily Telegraph says he leaves a legacy of mistrust.
The Daily Mail’s Richard Littlejohn dismisses the Speaker as “the partisan pipsqueak who disgraced his office”. In the Sun’s view, he’s a “pompous windbag who embodies an illegitimate, anti-democratic establishment long overdue its reckoning”.
The Daily Express prefers to focus on what it calls Boris Johnson’s barnstorming Commons performance, in which he refused to ask the EU for a delay, and accused opposition MPs of “cowardice” for stalling a general election.
By contrast, Robert Shrimsley in the FT thinks Mr Johnson’s increasingly shrill statements and briefings show all the attributes of a weak man trying to look strong. HuffPost UK’s Paul Waugh describes him as a “zombie PM in a zombie Parliament”.
‘Pill popping nation’
In other news, the Daily Mail welcomes a promise of action by Health Secretary Matt Hancock to help patients addicted to prescription drugs.
The paper has been campaigning for greater recognition of the problem and it hails as a victory official recommendations for a national helpline and new guidelines for doctors.
The story is also the lead in the Sun, which says Britain has become “a nation of pill poppers”.
Theresa May’s resignation list is the main story for the Daily Mirror which accuses her of showering a host of blundering cronies with honours.
“Mrs May exploited the system to recognise the loyalty and devotion of her own officials,” the paper says.
The Guardian returns to Whaley Bridge, the Derbyshire town that was threatened with disaster six weeks ago when a dam threatened to collapse, and finds it has become a “magnet for disaster tourists” including busloads of Chinese visitors keen to take photos of the reservoir.
Businesses are bustling and the local baker says she has been working around the clock since reopening after the evacuation. Some call it the Chernobyl effect, says the Guardian, only without the deadly radiation.
The Times recounts how the Hollywood star of a new film set in Wolverhampton perfected the Black Country accent by working undercover in a local gift shop for two weeks last summer.
Beanie Feldstein, a native of Los Angeles, was cast in How to Build a Girl after producers struggled to find a British actress for the part of a teenager desperate to escape Wolverhampton.
Her co-workers in the shop said that she blended in well and quickly fooled locals with her mastery of obscure Black Country phrases.
The actress became particularly fond of the phrase “ta-ra a bit”, meaning goodbye, and staff now hope it will catch on in California.