Newspaper headlines: Magaluf booze ban, pensions 'chaos' and Osborne's 'Mr Micawber' economics

While MPs were debating Britain's role in Europe in the Commons, the behaviour of Brits abroad is examined in the press.

"Defiant Britons are ignoring a crackdown on debauchery at the party resort of Magaluf," reports the Metro, alongside a photograph of topless men drinking in the streets of the Majorcan resort. This, notes the paper, contravenes laws banning night-time street drinking and nudity introduced in the wake of scandals over drunken behaviour including one woman performing sex acts on 24 men in a nightclub.

Image copyright PA Video

The Daily Mirror's Amanda Killelea reports from the scene a little more than three hours after the bans came into force.

She writes: "A barely-dressed girl is collapsed in the street as two shirtless guys try to pull her up. Another teen laughs as a friend shoots booze into her mouth with a syringe. Meanwhile, a baying and drunken crowd has swarmed around a coach, chanting at new arrivals from the airport - the latest delivery of fresh meat from the UK."

The Daily Star takes on the role of moral guardian in declaring it all "shameless".

Street drinking between 10pm and 8am now attracts a fine of up to £550 and the Star says police officers have warned that "rowdy youngsters would be carted off and slammed in Majorca's notorious Centro Penitenciario along with dangerous criminals".

However, one nurse who spoke to reporters seems unconcerned, declaring: "Fine me, do whatever you want, I'm going to get mortal on the street and I don't care."

Eye-catching headlines

  • "Forget the tea party, chimps prefer booze" - scientists have filmed chimpanzees enjoying alcohol in the wild, says the Mail, noting that some "became tipsy and needed a nap" after drinking fermented sap from palm trees
  • "New luggage rules to ease pre-flight confusion"- the Times says bosses of airlines in the International Air Transport Association have proposed standardising the limits of hand-luggage dimensions
  • "Honky toff women" - Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood are addicted to Downton Abbey and have been calling Lady Edith actress Laura Carmichael to get her to spill plot secrets, according to the Star
  • "Downton's secret: it almost never rains" - Dowager Duchess actress Dame Maggie Smith reckons the perfect blue skies accompanying scenes of tea on lawns and cricket matches have helped the show's success, reports the Telegraph

'Retro' Commons debate

The first debate on the EU Referendum Bill may have seen MPs vote overwhelmingly in favour of holding a poll before the end of 2017 but it wasn't a straightforward affair.

Independent sketchwriter Donald MacIntyre describes it as "the first round of a fresh 1990s-style bout between pro and anti-Europeans" where "the real action was on the government benches".

"Of the 75 Conservative MPs who had turned up for the debate, all but three were fully signed up members of the 'Britain Out' wing," counts the Guardian's John Crace. "The first significant intervention, though, came from Europhile Ken Clarke, who reminded Hammond that the original 1975 referendum had dealt with the very questions of sovereignty the foreign secretary claimed it hadn't."

Image caption Old foes in a "1990s-style bout": Ken Clarke is watched by Eurosceptic John Redwood

Quentin Letts, of the Daily Mail, thought Mr Clarke had "never looked so forlorn", adding: "His face turned a worrying purple, his bushy eyebrows crumpled... Some colleagues actually heckled the former chancellor."

However, neither was Mr Hammond having it all his own way. "It was interesting to watch a minister being interrupted so frequently by his own side," writes the Daily Telegraph's Michael Deacon. "Again and again they rose, their outstretched arms and imploring moans giving the chamber the feel of a zombie film."

As the Financial Times notes, the foreign secretary faced accusations from his own side of "trying to rig the result" by allowing ministers and civil servants to speak out immediately before the vote, abolishing the usual 28-day "purdah" period. For Daniel Finkelstein, of the Times, this week's bickering has left the Tories in "a topsy-turvy mess on Europe".

Meanwhile, the Daily Express claims a victory for its "crusade" for Britain to leave the EU but warns that while the battle for a referendum might be won, the "war over Britain's future" is just beginning. "It is dreadful to think what could happen in the next four decades if we remain part of an unreformed EU," it says.

What the commentators say...

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Media captionWatch Neil Midgley, from business website Forbes, and Times columnist Jenni Russell review Wednesday's papers for the BBC News Channel.

Hot air?

Debate over the proposed ban on vaping in public places appears in several papers. The Sun asks whether it represents the "nanny state gone mad". Travel editor Lisa Minot - who experienced a "vape escape" after 30 years of smoking - argues: "This tool has made me feel that I could kick my cigarette habit. To stop me from using it is madness."

However, Welsh GPs representative Dr Charlotte Jones argues that vaping in public places could encourage more people to take up the habit. "Although the health risks from e-cigarettes would appear to be less than from normal cigarettes we just don't know for sure," she says.

The Independent reckons the ban is a "lot of hot air". "What is cautious about impinging on the freedoms of millions of citizens with a draconian ban based on nothing but speculation?" it asks.

Image copyright Reuters

The Guardian hears from Hon Lik, the man who invented the e-cigarette before selling his patents for $75m (£49m) to the UK's Imperial Tobacco in 2013. He reckons the proposed ban is "probably over-concern" and driven by fear, despite a "growing consensus in Europe and the US that people who switch to e-cigarettes do not go back to smoking and that non-smokers do not start".

In the Telegraph, science writer Michael Hanlon says that thanks to Mr Hon's invention, there are several thousand Britons alive today who otherwise wouldn't be. But he adds: "E-cigarettes are unregulated, increasingly 'cool', sometimes made by evil tobacco companies and these factors alone are enough to damn them in many eyes."

Colleague Libby Purves offers a more tongue-in-cheek explanation of why she supports the ban. "Why should other people be able to pollute your passages with more than the necessary and inevitable fug of exhalation, perspiration and the occasional breaking of wind?" she asks.

"Even if they are the sort of lily-livered emotional inadequates who can't give up smoking like grown-ups, but must suck constantly on horribly perfumed electric sticks, sending out clouds of weird nicotine vapour to be unwillingly inhaled by the rest of the office, bus, train or place of entertainment?"

Snapshots of migration stories

The Guardian's Patrick Kingsley on the "three-year odyssey" of a Syrian man trying to reach "a haven from war" in Sweden: "In the darkness far out to sea, Hashem Alsouli can't see his neighbours but he can hear them scream... Several people are sprawled on top of him, and there's possibly another layer above them, Dozens are crammed into this wooden dinghy."

Larisa Brown, of the Daily Mail, meets some of the migrants picked up off Sicily by HMS Bulwark: "Hamad Said and his friend Abdul Fatah, both 26, were among 1,100 rescued... Once ashore they were taken to a camp where they were once again fed and even given new clothes by Italian officials. But yesterday afternoon, totally unchallenged, they walked out of the camp to begin their journey to London."

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