Newspaper review: UKIP gains attract headlines


Coverage of the UK Independence Party's gains in the council elections attracts widespread coverage in Saturday's newspapers.

The Daily Telegraph concludes that the elections saw UKIP become "a major political force".

Writing in the Telegraph, the twice-former Tory leadership contender David Davis tells the prime minister he needs to start listening to ordinary voters instead of his old school chums.

UKIP, he says, has transformed itself into a "Primary Colours Conservative Party", its policies mimicking a simplified 1980s Tory manifesto.

The Guardian believes Mr Cameron will face "enormous pressure" from the Tory element that hankers for a "UKIP-style Tory party".

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has "stunned the establishment" according to the Times, which says the Tories have been seized by panic and the political class is "shell-shocked".

The Independent talks of the Tories being "in civil war" as UKIP's glory puts the David Cameron under conflicting pressures.

But an editorial in the paper warns that UKIP's success should also worry Labour leader Ed Miliband.

The Daily Mirror agrees. Although Mr Cameron has most to lose, it says, UKIP is a challenge for Ed Miliband too, "a wake-up call for the established political parties".

Meanwhile, the Financial Times believes that if the local elections are any guide the 2015 General Election will be one of the most unpredictable in a generation".

Less sick?

The Sun sees the announcement that Royal Bank of Scotland could be returned to the private sector next year as "a rare bit of good news for the taxpayer".

"We may even get back some of the £45bn cost of bailing out the bank," it says, "but bearing in mind RBS's recent history, it'd be wise not to take a cheque".

The Daily Telegraph reports the results of a survey by the Office for National Statistics which found that most people still go to work when they are sick.

The recession has had an impact, with the average number of sick days taken a year falling from 5.6 in 2007 to 4.1 last year, with women taking one day more than men, the paper reports.

People say they go in because of heavy workloads, fears of being criticised by colleagues or a fear of redundancy.

According to the Daily Mail, doctors fear the new NHS 111 helpline system will face "meltdown" over the Bank Holiday weekend as it won't be able to cope with GP surgeries being closed for three days.

The paper says hospitals have already been inundated by patients with non-urgent conditions - sent by unqualified staff manning the new lines, which replaced NHS Direct.

'No feminist'

The Guardian has a report from Beijing on China's very own meat scandal.

The "public security bureau" has announced that 904 people have been arrested in three months for meat-related offences. One gang in Shanghai apparently made £1m by passing off fox, mink and rat meat as mutton.

Several of the front pages have a picture of Prince Charles holding a baby handed to him during a visit in Dorset. It comes just two months before the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's baby arrives.

"Beaming Charles prepares to be a grandad," is the caption in the Daily Express.

The Daily Mail says it is nearly three decades since Charles was a hands-on father; perhaps, with a grandchild on the way, he decided it was time for a spot of revision.

Finally, the Times reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has revealed that she envies men for having deeper voices than women.

She told a magazine: "It matters in politics". The papers says she also declared she was no feminist, saying real feminists would be offended if she described herself as one.

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