UK

Newspaper review: Papers suggest questions over HS2

  • 26 October 2013
  • From the section UK
Papers

Some of the papers suggest there are questions about the future of the High Speed 2 rail link.

For its main story, the Times says David Cameron has warned the project will be abandoned if Labour withdraws its support for it.

The prime minister believes it will be impossible to secure the necessary private investment without all-party backing.

The paper says it is the first time he has conceded that the government would ditch the scheme if Labour dropped its backing.

The Independent says Mr Cameron's comments on HS2 mark a change of language by the prime minister, whom it thinks is preparing the ground for blaming Labour if it collapses.

It says the Labour leadership will vote with the government in a Commons debate on HS2 next week.

But, it adds, there are signs the party is rapidly becoming sceptical about the merits of the rail link and could drop its support next year when crucial legislation is due before Parliament.

Output rise

According to the Daily Telegraph lead, NHS hospitals are to be banned from fitting most metal-on-metal hip replacements after a study found unacceptably high failure rates among implants in 17,000 patients.

Surgeons are concerned they fail far too early as joints wear away. The paper says the draft guidelines by the health watchdog NICE have been issued after research uncovered failure rates as high as 43%.

Classified documents from the cache disclosed by US whistleblower Edward Snowden provide the Guardian with its lead again.

According to the paper, the memos reveal that the intelligence agency GCHQ repeatedly warned it feared a "damaging public debate" on the scale of its activities because it could lead to legal challenges against its mass-surveillance programmes.

It says the documents set out the agency's long and ultimately successful fight against making intercept evidence admissible in criminal trials.

The rise in economic output is the main story for the Financial Times.

The paper says Chancellor George Osborne hoped to end the week basking in strong growth figures - but instead the agenda has been dominated by Labour's call for a freeze on fuel bills.

It adds that the focus on living costs is infuriating for Mr Osborne who insists that only a broad recovery can deliver rising living standards in the long term.

Storm warnings

The Daily Mail reports that householders face a bombardment of cold calls and unwanted post in a new junk mail offensive.

It says Royal Mail is putting barcodes on letters, allowing it to tell firms when their marketing messages have been delivered.

Then sales people can make follow-up phone calls and send text messages. The move represents a significant escalation of the direct marketing business of Royal Mail, the paper adds.

Finally, the warnings of a storm for later this weekend are widely reported - the Daily Express and the Daily Mirror lead on them. The Mirror has the headline "Brace yourselves".

The Daily Telegraph says the storm's projected path could yet change and lead it away from Britain.

The Sun hopes so. What was it the forecasters predicted in 2009 before weeks of endless rain, it asks? A barbecue summer.

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