Newspaper headlines: EU referendum fight and Stuart Broad fires England

We still don't have a date for the promised referendum on the UK's continued membership of the European Union but the subject continues to make front page news.

Prime Minister David Cameron is yet to secure the reforms he seeks ahead of the poll but - given he has indicated a UK exit is not "the right answer" - the Sunday Telegraph suggests he will "welcome" the formation of a new group, Conservatives for Reform in Europe.

The group for Tory members who want to stay in the bloc is headed by former Policing Minister Nick Herbert, the paper explains. And it gives space to the MP to declare: "Leaving without the first idea of what we might get instead would be to jump into a void."

The recruitment of Mr Herbert - a "leading Eurosceptic" - is a "coup" for Mr Cameron, says the Sunday Times. It says the PM plans to pull three "rabbits from the hat" in his renegotiation. It lists these as: an agreement to redefine Britain's membership of a two-tier Europe, an "emergency brake" on EU migration should public services become overwhelmed and a change to domestic law to make clear that UK courts are not bound by Europe's Charter of Fundamental Rights.

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The Sunday Times quotes a source saying the latter is the brainchild of London Mayor Boris Johnson and that Justice Secretary Michael Gove is tasked with securing it, meaning the pair would be "bound" to the PM's camp. And with Education Secretary Nicky Morgan declaring via the Observer that a "Brexit" would limit the ambitions of women and young people to study and find work abroad, the headlines make happy reading for Mr Cameron.

That is, however, if you ignore the Mail on Sunday's front page. It reports the results of an opinion poll suggesting that 53% of Britons want to leave the EU and says there has been a dramatic reversal of opinions since May, when 54% wanted to stay in. That' period has seen the EU migration crisis, extremist attacks on Paris and the New Year sex attacks attributed to migrants in Cologne, it points out.

And while the Independent on Sunday interprets a poll of its own as a "boost" for Mr Cameron, on the basis 84% backing his demands for EU migrants to pay tax for four years before claiming benefits, the survey still found 40% in favour of leaving the EU. That's as opposed to 38% in favour of retaining membership.


Eye-catching headlines

  • "Robbers foiled by OAP, postie... and combine harvester" - the Sunday Express describes how Yorkshire villagers teamed up to prevent masked armed robbers escaping a post office raid
  • "Linford ChristSKI" - Olympic 100-metre gold medal winner Linford Christie lines up alongside celebrities such as Sid Owen, Brian McFadden and Rebecca Adlington for the next series of Channel 4's reality ski show The Jump, reports the Sunday People
  • "Maths magic! Sum that tells anyone's age and shoe size" - the Mail on Sunday reports on an arithmetical trick doing the rounds on social media
  • "Aloo... goodbye to Friday nights" - the Sun on Sunday laments the end of the "tradition of beers and biryani" to kick off the weekend, with thousands of pubs and curry houses having closed in five years

'Stuperman'

The England cricket team's series victory in South Africa sees seamer Stuart Broad pictured on some front pages, after he took six wickets at a cost of just 17 runs. "Bliss it was yesterday to be alive," writes the Observer's Rob Smyth, "but to be an English cricket fan was very heaven."

And Broad's efforts - including what the Sunday Times calls a "magic spell" of 5-1 in 31 balls - inspire headline writers. "Stu beauty!" declares the Mail on Sunday, while the Sunday People brands him "Stuperman". "Stu's six of the best," is the Sunday Express's effort, while the Sunday Mirror labels the game "rout of Africa". The Sun on Sunday, explaining that coach Trevor Bayliss had given the side a kick in the rear, describes the bowler as "Trevved up".

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Nick Hoult writes in the Telegraph: "No English bowler loves sticking a flag in opposition territory more than Broad: he conquered South Africa with the kind of hot streak that is his hallmark. By seizing six for 17, he delivered England's first series win in South Africa for 11 years, and toppled the world's no 1 Test team from their perch."

Likewise, Simon Wilde writes in the Sunday Times: "Once he gets the scent of blood in his nostrils, there can be no stopping him. He starts galloping to the crease with bounding strides marginally longer than normal, focused on a fuller length than he normally bowls, bringing off stump into play as well as the outside edge, and becomes as irresistible as any fast bowler in the world."

Broad uses a Mail on Sunday column to describe Saturday as "one of the most special days of my career". He writes that he had "let the boys down a bit" in the first innings, when suffering with sickness, and so owed it to his teammates to bowl well second time around.


What the commentators say

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Media captionSunday Times political editor Tim Shipman and Oliver Wright, political editor of the Independent, join the BBC News Channel to review Sunday's papers.

'Hounded hero'

Confirmation that former head of the Army Lord Bramall will face no action in connection with claims of historical child abuse sparks calls for him to be offered an apology by London's Metropolitan police.

"Of course the police have a responsibility to look into accusations. But the Met made serious errors of judgment," says the Sunday Telegraph. "Lord Bramall's house was searched by 20 officers on the basis of uncorroborated evidence, causing immense distress to his wife, who was suffering from Alzheimer's and who died before her husband's name was cleared.

"The police aired their opinions on the case too freely, asserting that they regarded the allegations to be 'credible and true'. And when the investigation was finally dropped, the Met used language that implied the accusation lacked evidence rather than simply admitting they had been wrong."

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The Sun on Sunday takes exception to the Met's statement being "slipped out at 8.27pm on Friday - a crass attempt to bury what they knew was very bad news for them". The "hounded hero", Lord Bramall, is set to sue Scotland Yard over the "flawed VIP child sex inquiry" into what was described as a VIP paedophile ring. The Sun quotes a former Met anti-paedophile detective calling for the inquiry to be wound up and saying that accepting claims at face value was "wholly wrong".

The Mail on Sunday wonders whether everything the chief accuser - known only as "Nick" - told police was a "pack of lies". The paper accepts there was a time when police paid "far too little attention to allegations of child abuse", allowing powerful people to get away with "terrible crimes". But it adds: "We have moved from arrogant complacency to a panicky willingness to believe any allegation at all and persecute unlikely suspects without good reason."

Writing in the Sunday Times, criminologist Roger Graef urges a change in policy in investigating historical child abuse. "Acquiring evidence and testing the veracity of claims in past cases in hugely time-consuming and the results are unreliable... If our children are to be protected now from the abuse that so many past victims endured, we must draw the line in cases where offenders pose no further risk."


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