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Paper Monitor

12:34 UK time, Monday, 6 December 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The papers have a new cover girl this morning - 25-year-old Katia Zatuliveter. The Russian, who has been accused of spying while working as a parliamentary aide for Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock, graces the front of the Guardian, with a brandy glass clasped in her right hand.

"The MP, his Russian aide and questions over Trident" runs the headline.

Yikes. The T word makes it sound scary. Allegations centre around Mr Hancock being prompted to ask questions in Parliament about Britain's sensitive nuclear defence issues. So what is this woman said to have uncovered?

The Guardian publishes a number of questions posed by Mr Hancock in the House of Commons, complete with revelatory answers from Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox, which include:

"We have no plans to publish an historical inventory"
"We have no plans to publish follow up documents..."

Wikileaks won't be quaking in its boots just yet.

The Telegraph and Express both picture Miss Zatuliveter in a slightly more revealing pose than the Guardian's - on a rooftop with midriff showing and pants just brimming above her trouser waist.

"Farewell Katia... Russia's foxy spy in the House" runs the Express's headline. Foxy? No disrespect but, as a colleague put it, if Anna Chapman set the bar for modern-day Mata Haris, then Miss Z has some way to go.

The Mail relegates the story to its inside pages, but goes with a large picture of Miss Z posing on a beach with a raffia skirt and bikini top. "Blonde temptress" is the picture caption.

And what of Mr Hancock himself. The Times makes clear "There is no suggestion [he] has acted improperly". But that doesn't stop the Guardian putting the boot in.

"Veteran marginalised over questions of judgment" it says over a profile piece.

And looking at the picture of Mr Hancock in a lurid pink cable knit sweater, Paper Monitor has to agree.

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