Newspaper review: Migrants' benefits, palace nuts and Bond's drink problem

Two subjects dominate Friday's front pages - various aspects of the UK's benefits system, and evidence heard in court that the Queen was "irritated" by police officers taking nuts from bowls left around Buckingham Palace.

The Daily Telegraph and i newspaper report that ministers are planning to impose tougher language tests in a bid to deny benefits to migrants whose English would be too poor for them to get a job.

The reports puzzled those reviewing the papers for the BBC News Channel. Daily Telegraph assistant comment editor Tom Chivers said: "There's no shortage of jobs for migrants who don't require that good English. It seems a very odd decision."

Anne Ashworth, assistant editor at the Times, wondered: "Could Spain retaliate and say [to English settlers] 'you can't speak Spanish, you can't have medical treatment or claim any benefits'?"

Meanwhile, the Financial Times and Guardian both report that Chancellor George Osborne plans further cuts to the welfare budget. The FT suggests it's brought tensions within the coalition government "bubbling to the surface" as the Liberal Democrats prefer tax increases for high earners.

"It's a reminder that despite the close working relationship in this parliament between Mr Osborne and [Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny] Alexander - both fiscal disciplinarians - keeping it going beyond 2015 will be tricky," it says, spelling out the parties' differences on budget discipline, welfare, tax and spending.

The Times, on the other hand, suggests the government could do more to stop the budget being spent on people who aren't entitled to help. It reports that the government didn't pursue legal action against 35,000 people found to have received a "recoverable overpayment" by fraud investigators in the last financial year.

'Nut amused'

Meanwhile, tabloid sub editors are competing for the best headline to describe court revelations that the Queen was getting fed up with police officers taking nuts from bowls left around Buckingham Palace.

"Pilfering plod is driving one nuts," is the Metro's effort, while the Daily Express writes: "Hands orf one's nuts..."

The Daily Mirror probably wins the day, however, declaring on its front page: "One is nut amused!" Another Royal pun can be found inside, where Prince Harry's new beard - grown during a charity trek to the South Pole - sees him renamed Prince Hairy.

Politicians' pay

The saga of how much our MPs should earn rumbles on. The Independent leads with the stand-off between the leaders of Britain's three main parties - who are refusing to accept a politically toxic 11% pay rise - and IPSA, the independent body which recommended it.

Candidates at the 2015 polls face "an unseemly race to the bottom," the paper says, adding: "Backbenchers now fear they will be pressurised into refusing to take the increase if rival candidates say they will turn it down."

Former Education Secretary Lord Baker writes in the Independent that MPs should get the rise but adds: "If you have an above-average wage increase in the private sector, any manager would be looking to cut the staff. So what should happen now is that the size of the Commons should be cut from 650 MPs to 600, which would save about £20m."

The cartoonists enjoy the scenario, with the Independent's Dave Brown sketching a pyjama-clad Labour leader Ed Miliband cutting the toes from Christmas stockings. At the hearth, Mr Cameron is lighting a fire to deter Santa, who's bearing a sack marked: "IPSA £".

Bob, in the Daily Telegraph, has the pair standing outside in the snow with LibDem leader Nick Clegg, holding signs reading: "I have everything I need", "Stop giving me cash", and "Multiple homes and plenty of food". His caption reads: "At Christmas, remember those more fortunate than yourself."

Party season

Talking of Christmas, the tabloids have plenty of tips on surviving the festive season. The Daily Express hears from psychologists who reckon careful measuring of turkey, sprouts and roasties can create the "perfect Christmas dinner" to avoid feeling stuffed.

It gives optimum amounts of each, along with stuffing, cranberry sauce and veg. According to the recipe, 50g (2oz) of turkey contains half the recommended daily intake of an essential amino acid which reduces appetite and breaks down certain hormones "making it easier to remain calm during Christmas day excitement". Let's hope it doesn't completely counteract the effects of the cranberry sauce "which releases feel-good chemicals in the brain".

The Daily Star marks the most popular day for the work Christmas "do" by enlisting etiquette expert Judi James to list 10 helpful hints to "avoid making a turkey of yourself". They include advice on twerking and teaming up on the dance floor to avoid "David Brent-style moments", and warnings to avoid rants and "never be tempted to have sex on an office desk".

If things do get out of hand, there is a new "secure place for people who have become vulnerable - or have the potential to become troublesome - after drinking too much". Or at least there is in Bristol, reports the Guardian, which says the "drunk tank" is the first outside the capital "to give revellers who have overindulged a place to sober up or receive treatment".

Meanwhile, Christmas has already been "ruined" for some primary school children in Wiltshire, according to the Star, which reports that a vicar apologised after telling them Father Christmas didn't exist and recounting the gruesome legend of St Nicholas - including the bits about children being butchered. "Santa killer," is how he was described on the Star's front page.

'Pie-eyed spy'

One character you'd think would love a good festive eggnog would be vodka Martini-quaffing spy 007. But a group of doctors reckon James Bond wasn't just a recreational drinker, according to the Times. It says a study of his boozing in Ian Fleming's novels detected a functioning alcoholic who downed more than four times the NHS weekly recommendation.

"James Bombed, the pie-eyed spy," is how the Express sums up the Bond described in the research, published in the British Medical Journal. Its editorial notes: "Though Sean Connery and Roger Moore played Bond brilliantly in films, an alcohol intake of 92 units a week suggests that the late Oliver Reed should have been given a turn."

Meanwhile, the Sun cuts to the chase, saying of the serial seducer: "James Bond drank so much booze he would have been hopeless in bed." It publishes a table listing the character's consumption per novel, topped by You Only Live Twice in which he drank 225.8 units.

"So much for the great romeo," its editorial says, noting he could never have "risen to the challenge between the sheets". It continues: "007. Shaking... not stirring."

Making people click

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Daily Mail: Benefits cheat who stole £82,000 while her husband ran £400,000-a-year tandoori restaurant is dragged screaming to cells as she is jailed