Newspaper review: Papers vent views on Abu Qatada


Abu Qatada has been in jail for the past seven years, and out of public view - but the sight of him returning to his home in north London has not changed the way the newspapers feel about him.

The Daily Express says he grinned when he saw angry protesters outside the house, and that he has "mocked British justice".

The Daily Mail calls the smile "the smirk of the terror preacher we just can't kick out", while the crowds of protesters lead the Independent to describe Abu Qatada as "Britain's least wanted man".

There is continuing anger that judges have blocked his deportation.

The Daily Star calls for him to be put on a plane to Jordan regardless of the consequences, while the Sun says it "beggars belief" that everyone is powerless to stop him "roaming the streets".

The Daily Mail's editorial says that despite the gnashing of teeth at Westminster, nothing is likely to change.

"Every day Abu Qatada remains at large is an insult to the British people", it says, "and an indictment of a pygmy political class which has ceded control to a foreign court".

Election claim

The Guardian claims that the Conservative MP running the party's by-election campaign in Corby has been secretly filmed appearing to support a rival candidate.

It says campaign group Greenpeace recorded Chris Heaton-Harris saying he had helped an independent who wanted to get into the election to campaign against wind farms.

The paper says the evidence that the Tories' own campaign manager covertly supported a rival will be intensely embarrassing to the party.

In a statement, Mr Heaton-Harris denied that he had choreographed any "secret plan" against the Conservative candidate.

He said quotes attributed to him ranged from factually correct statements to him bragging about things beyond his control.

Refugee camp

The Times devotes its front page to the plight of refugees who have fled the fighting in Syria, under the headline "Cold, hungry and abandoned on the border of catastrophe".

The paper says millions of Syrians will be left to face winter alone after aid agencies said it was too dangerous for them to work in some areas.

The Times's reporter Martin Fletcher has been to the Atmeh camp in northern Syria, and says he is haunted by the vision of filthy bedraggled children who lack food and medicine.

He says these are tragedies waiting to happen, but tragedies that can still be avoided.

Popped open

It is a day for wardrobe malfunctions.

The Daily Mail shows the Queen's grand-daughter Zara Phillips on a modelling job in Australia, saying she was a picture of elegance - until she turned round to accidentally reveal that her dress was unzipped.

The Daily Telegraph has noticed David Cameron revealing more than he expected when his shirt popped open during the Lord Mayor's banquet.

The paper says it is unusual for a politician to reveal so much of his "squeezed middle".

But the prime minister can take solace from the fact that while the Telegraph thinks the moment was embarrassing for him, it says that at least he was trying to "do the right thing" and wearing formal dress rather than giving in to the modern trend for dressing down.

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