Newspaper review: Local elections previewed

  • 1 May 2013
  • From the section UK

The press spend the last day of campaigning before local elections in England and Wales assessing the potential performances of some political parties.

Pictures of the UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, a pint of foaming ale in hand, appear in most of the round-ups.

He is - says Donald Macintyre in the Independent - in that intermediate state of celebrity in which his every step is dogged by the media, but in which the public is only beginning to grasp how pivotal he may prove to be.

The Daily Telegraph feels the UKIP is well-placed to make big gains, mostly at the expense of the Conservatives.

While the result will not be as apocalyptic as in 1995, it says, the Conservatives need to show between now and 2015 that they can staunch the flow of their voters to the UKIP, otherwise an overall majority will be beyond them.

Murder trial opens

The Times has a warning for Ed Miliband. Without a strong showing in the south, his claims of One Nation politics will still ring hollow, it says.

It feels the Labour leader has three main problems - his reticence to spell out an economic strategy, an evasive position on welfare, and a "personality problem".

Under the spotlight, it says, he too often sounds peevish, evasive and exasperated. Labour should be doing better, it adds.

The Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror lead with the opening of the April Jones murder trial and the suggestion by prosecutors that the defendant Mark Bridger had viewed child pornography on the day she disappeared. He denies murder.

The Sun reports claims that an American special forces soldier, presumed killed 45 years ago, has been found living in a remote Vietnamese village.

Sergeant John Robertson was 31 when his helicopter was shot down over Loas in 1968.

A documentary team has tracked down a 76-year-old with dementia who speaks no English, but recalls being tortured by the North Vietnamese and resembles a photograph of the missing serviceman.

The Daily Express says a new treatment for diabetes - approved by the European Medicines Agency - will help patients control their condition and fight obesity.

It says Lyxumia, which is taken as a once-a-day jab, costs just £1.90 a time and will save the NHS at least £70m over the next five years.

Judge's advice

After the coldest April for 24 years, the Telegraph is full of the joys of spring.

The outlook for the weekend is "better than many will have dared to hope" it says, with temperatures possibly reaching 23 degrees Celsius on Bank Holiday Monday.

But the Times cautions that this is the latest in a run of dry springs and, if history repeats itself, that may herald yet another washout summer.

Finally, a judge in Bristol has suggested binge-drinkers should go skinny-dipping instead of punching each other's lights out, according to the Express.

Sentencing two men for a brawl in a sandwich shop, Frank Cabbott, a crown court recorder, said that when he was a student he would shin up a telegraph pole before going naked in a swimming pool.

"We did not", he added, "go around punching each other".

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