Newspaper headlines: David Cameron's 'climbdown', Star Wars and climate 'hot air'

As David Cameron prepares for an EU summit at which he'll bid to advance his renegotiation of Britain's relationship with Brussels, it's widely reported that he will perform a "climbdown" over migrants' access to benefits.

The prime minister had wanted to stop migrant workers from claiming tax credits within four years of their arrival but, says the Sunday Times, his proposal has been "rebuffed" by fellow leaders during one-to-one talks.

For the Sunday Telegraph's Peter Foster, it's a sign that Mr Cameron "has finally been forced to face facts about the limits of British leverage when it comes to forging a new deal" in Europe. It was a "fundamental miscalculation", he says, to believe that a Europe tackling problems with the single currency, migration and terrorism would "trade away" the core principle of equal treatment for all nationalities in the same job "rather than risk a British exit".

The Observer's Andrew Rawnsley reckons the PM's temper might not have helped talks, citing "reports from his cabinet colleagues of the normally smooth prime minister Jekyll transmogrifying into an angry, puce-face Mr Hyde when he doesn't get his own way". Such "strops" had come as a shock to some of Mr Cameron's European counterparts, given they were "highly sympathetic" to his desire for a swift process, the writer adds.

Image copyright Alik Keplicz

However, the paper suggests there is scope to limit benefits for those who do not have work or have lost a job after a short period of employment, without requiring treaty change.

The Independent on Sunday says: "Mr Cameron's dramatic climbdown sets the scene for a surprise agreement limiting the inflow of migrants instead, and comes amid growing speculation that a proposed 'emergency brake', allowing the government to temporarily restrict freedom of movement, may be agreed."

John Rentoul comments in the same paper that the "very difficulty" of the PM's original demand had the effect of sending EU officials "scurrying around" for alternatives. "The idea of temporary entry restrictions if public services are under strain has been taken out of the 'absolutely unthinkable' cupboard and put on the negotiating table... So, Cameron will get something."

Still, for some in his party - like former environment secretary and Vote Leave campaigner Owen Paterson, the PM is "focused on the wrong things". He writes in the Sun on Sunday: "His efforts will do nothing to make any positive change... The [European] project has failed. It is an unfixable, unworkable monstrosity and the only way Britain can reassert itself on the world stage once again is by voting to leave.

Cartoonists offer their interpretation, with the Observer's Riddell picturing the PM astride a winged pig, it's feet firmly on terra firma. Schrank, in the Independent on Sunday, has Mr Cameron on board a sinking EU-flagged ship, announcing: "I'd like to renegotiate the arrangement of our deckchairs."

Gerald Scarfe, of the Sunday Times, imagines Mr Cameron thinking "this doesn't look as good as I thought it would", as he paints himself into the corner of a room decorated with the EU flag.


Eye-catching headlines

  • "Nice little urner"- the Sun on Sunday advises readers to "ditch the teabags and have a cuppa, Downton Abbey style" after discovering "posh leaf tea" is often cheaper per-cup than bags
  • "Fancy knitting a Mansfield Parka? Read this yarn..." - the Sunday Express discovers Jane Austen characters can be recreated with wool, thanks to a book of patterns entitled Pride & Preju-Knits
  • "I should be so clucky" - the Sunday People's take on Kylie Minogue's Desert Island Discs interview in which she says she'd like to have children with boyfriend Joshua Sasse
  • "French restaurants are best... say the French" - a new "totally scientific" system of ranking eateries, developed in France, shows half of the world's top 10 to be run by Frenchmen, reports the Sunday Telegraph

Force frenzy

With excitement building over the release of the next Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, the Observer visits the "camp" outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Los Angeles's Hollywood Boulevard where 130 fans have gathered ahead of Monday's premiere.

"There's even an elaborate franchise-themed wedding... For her big day, [Australian bride Caroline] Ritter will don a classic white dress, with 'handmade crystal x-wing starfighters on it'."

Other papers focus on the young British stars involved in the film, with the Sunday Times hearing how Daisy Ridley, who plays the heroine Rey, is "trying to stay grounded like any young actor in London" despite the fact she will "soon be on a million lunchboxes".

"The leading woman in what could be the world's first $3bn (£2bn) movie says she would rather stay in to watch The Great British Bake Off than go out partying and thinks she can continue her anonymous life. She has even signed up for an Open University degree in social sciences," the paper says.

Image copyright Reuters

The Daily Star Sunday hears from John Boyega, who plays Finn, about a south London childhood "surrounded by horror stabbings and gun violence". It says: "John is convinced he would have been caught up in gang culture if he hadn't discovered acting."

Meanwhile, the Independent on Sunday meets Nina Gold who, as casting director, is "the force behind all the new faces to appear, masked or otherwise". Asked if Ridley and Boyega know what's in store when they're catapulted to international fame, Gold replies: "Really. No. Idea. I don't think anybody could possibly contemplate what a big thing it will be for them."

The Sunday Express focuses on one of the franchise's original stars, Carrie Fisher, who reprises her Princess Leia role for The Force Awakens. In an interview with the paper's S Magazine she jokes that her character is now an "elderly general in an 'intergalactic old folks home'".

And the Sun on Sunday catches up with David Prowse, the Briton who played Darth Vader before a fall-out with director George Lucas left him "cut from the Star Wars family". In any case, the paper says, Prose "preferred playing the Green Cross Code man in the long-running road safety campaign".


What the commentators say

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMihir Bose from London's Evening Standard and the author Sunny Singh join the BBC News Channel to review Sunday's papers.

Cause for optimism?

As world leaders celebrate what French President Francois Hollande called a "major leap for mankind" in agreeing to try to limit global warming to less than 2C (3.6F), the Sunday Telegraph tries to decipher what it means for us Brits.

"In the short term, the deal is not likely to have much impact on UK policies because Britain already has tough domestic emissions-reductions targets," suggests its Q&A. However, it envisages a future "where most new cars will be electric by 2030, where homes will cease relying on gas for heating, and where consumers still pay rising subsidies for renewable electricity".

Image copyright AP

As the Independent on Sunday reports, the deal doesn't go far enough for many environmental activists. It quotes Prof Chris Rapley, of University College London, pointing out: "Time will reveal the true nature of the Paris agreement. From epic turning point to naive expression of hope, it is the real-world actions that follow that will decide."

Even if words are matched by actions, says the Observer: "We should be under no illusions what a world that is 'only' two degrees warmer than it was in its pre-industrial past will be like for its inhabitants... Earth's ecosystems are fragile and many are still destined to suffer profound change even if we can keep temperature rises to 2C."

The Sunday Times agrees that: "We should not pretend... that it is quite the breakthrough that its champions are claiming." It continues: "The truth is that the Paris deal... will only work if countries decide it is in their interest. Much more important than summit communiques are the two forces that will limit global warming: self-interest and technology." However, it finds cause for optimism in both the development of low-carbon technology and reports of falling greenhouse gas emissions.

Similarly, author and environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg describes the Paris summit as an "international festival of hot air" in the Mail on Sunday. He says it will cost Europe £200bn in lost economic growth as funds are ploughed into "inefficient" green energy and that people should forget about "futile" carbon-cutting policies and invest instead in innovation.


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