'Revenge porn' laws, Monty Python reviews and the Duchess of Cambridge's hair

Chris Grayling

The prospect of prosecution for jilted lovers who upload sexually explicit videos of their ex-partners to the web makes headlines.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling's response to a question about the practice, in which he said ministers would have "serious discussions" on the topic, forms the basis of the Daily Telegraph's lead story.

The paper points out that while some US states have introduced laws to address concerns, the UK's legislation on "malicious communications" and harassment usually require a number of offences before prosecutions can take place.

According to the Daily Mail there are some 30 UK websites used by men to post intimate pictures of former lovers. It says women find them impossible to remove because they are so quickly reproduced on other sites and quotes former Culture Secretary Maria Miller - who's campaigning on the matter - describing the use of revenge porn as "a form of sexual violence".

The Metro, which also has the story on its front page, points out that Mrs Miller's call for action comes as figures show the number of convictions for domestic violence has reached a new high.

Party time

Much excitement is generated by a party which took place over a year ago, thanks to the leak of a guest list for the Conservative Party's annual fundraising dinner.

"Revealed: the billionaires who came to Tory dinner," is how the Guardian presents the story on its front page. "Six billionaires and 15 people with a personal wealth above £100m were present at the closed event at Old Billingsgate Market, in the City of London," it explains.

Inside, the paper sets out the table plans showing some of the key guests, revealing that an investor, financier, property tycoon and charity boss were on David Cameron's table. It hears strip-club owner Peter Stringfellow complain that - in an age of austerity - champagne was off the menu, and notes that attendees were "forbidden from reporting on the event using any kind of social media".

The Daily Mail is particularly interested in two guests: "ultimate jet-setter" Nicolas Berggruen - who lives in hotels around the world, rather than owning a home - and Russian President Vladimir Putin's judo partner, Vasily Shestakov. It's not clear how much the event raised, the Mail says, but it adds: "Electoral Commission figures show that since the ball, those present have donated £5m to the Conservatives. Of this £1.1m was registered in the week after the event."

It all sounds like good news for David Cameron as he prepares for this year's dinner, at west London's exclusive Hurlingham Club, on Wednesday evening. And the Times reports that his party's "war chest" for fighting next year's general election will be three times the size of Labour's.

With Ed Miliband having loosened ties with the unions, the paper says Labour hopes to tap into similar funding through a summer party of its own. However, it says wealthy individual donors are "thin on the ground" and points out that some within the party have concerns about the influence of one backer - property tycoon Andrew Rosenfeld - who has given £863,000 since 2011.

Meanwhile, the Telegraph says Labour's biggest donor - the Unite trade union, which has given £12m since Ed Miliband became leader - will insist unions are given a seat in government, should the party win, in the form of a "Ministry for Labour".

The Times says the Liberal Democrats will be left to fight the election "on a shoestring", having collected just £10,000 in donations in the first three months of 2014. "The party's spending power was hugely reduced when it joined the coalition and lost its taxpayer-funded 'short money' given to opposition parties," the paper adds.

Meanwhile, the Independent's Matthew Norman reflects on a different sort of party - Monday's Foreign Office reception thrown by David Cameron in celebration of the UK arts and entertainment world's contribution to society. Dubbing it Cool Britannia II: This Time It's Personally Embarrassing For Us All, the writer reckons absentees Dame Maggie Smith, Nicole Kidman, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Benedict Cumberbatch were more intriguing than those present.

Wondering why Strictly Come Dancing host Tess Daly was there without husband Vernon Kaye, he suggests: "Could it be that the presenter of All Star Family Fortunes and public face of the Beefeater restaurant chain regarded himself - HIMSELF - as too cool for Cool II? If so, he had a point."

'Something completely familiar'

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A long-awaited show, described by the Mail as "the Holy Grail for Python fans", opened at London's O2 arena on Tuesday. But its reviewer, Quentin Letts, found the stars of Monday Python's Flying Circus: "Creaking and croaking, they sounded like a dodgy old tribute band."

In the Times, Dominic Maxwell writes: "Do this lot still have the comic vitality they had 40 years ago? They do not... Yet there are plenty of laughs here - sure, laughs of recognition rather than laughs of surprise, but genuine laughs all the same."

John Walsh, in the Independent, laments: "I was a fan of the Monty Ps from the start, and it pains me to criticise them. But this is a lazy production, resting on its laurels, uninterested in showcasing new material, relying on TV footage and the whooping adulation of an audience who know all the words."

"Maybe period flavour is part of the point," wonders the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw. "These sketches come from a time when some men really did go to work wearing bowler hats." Noting that John Cleese "isn't quite match-fit", he concludes: "Monty Python Live (mostly) isn't bad: it gives the crowds exactly what they want but presumes pretty heavily on the fan-love and makes a hefty withdrawal from the reputation bank."

However, others were more impressed. The Daily Mirror's Mark Jefferies writes: "It is very funny in places, mainly when we get the magic of the Pythons on stage. It is not something completely different, but that's exactly why fans will love it."

The Daily Express's Neil Norman awards a full five stars to a show "refreshingly free from political correctness" while, in the Sun, comedian Russell Kane found himself transported back to his childhood, saying: "I was back on the sofa with my dad, laughing my bum off."

And the Telegraph's Dominic Cavendish classes the show as "more golden than olden", writing: "They've still got it (just): this is an end-of-the-pier show fit for the funny, peculiar, poignant end of a comedy era, and at times, great wonder, this circus really flies."

Bad hair day?

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There is much discussion of the Duchess of Cambridge's hair, with the Daily Mail devoting all of page three to discussion of a new style it describes as: "Part Little Bo Peep, part pantomime dame and shinier than a fresh conker."

The paper's Catherine Ostler says it "rather stole the limelight" being, as it was, "half-up, half-down style, back-combed on top, and teased into tight ringlets". She quotes a former stylist to the Royal Family saying the duchess's hair is "wonderful, maybe a little overdone at times", before adding: "Looks like yesterday was one of those times."

"Ladies, there is a god," declares the Daily Mirror's fashion and beauty director Amber Graafland. "Even the Duchess of Cambridge can fall foul to the odd bad hair day. Despite having the most enviable and emulated locks in the country, Kate had a serious hair malfunction."

The Sun declares it a "Mane of Thrones", reckoning it was a brunette version of the style sported by the dragon queen in the TV fantasy, Game of Thrones.

However, the Daily Express calls her a "trendsetter", suggesting she "stepped back in time" to the 1970s to recall her husband's great-aunt Princess Margaret, or the style of Katharine Ross in the film The Graduate.

All this focus on hair was exactly what comedian John Bishop had asked the press to avoid when teaming up with the duchess to promote the work of M-Pact, a project to help children whose parents suffer from drug or alcohol addiction, reports the Telegraph.

Bishop had asked reporters not to focus on "the style icon, where the clothes are from or whether the hairstyle is in place", before quipping: "Basically, don't make the story about me."

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