Newspaper headlines: Cameron and Johnson clash, maternity money and pet detective

The clash in the Commons between David Cameron and Boris Johnson over the EU referendum is the main focus for the press.

According to the Telegraph, Mr Cameron suggested that the London mayor decided to campaign for an exit from the EU simply to further his own ambition to become prime minister.

The paper says: "In a sign of the deepening divisions over the in-out referendum, David Cameron used a Commons appearance openly to condemn Mr Johnson.

"The prime minister is said to be 'livid' with his colleague, who yesterday indicated that Mr Cameron and his allies were 'wildly exaggerating' when they claimed that a 'Brexit' would be a 'leap in the dark'.

"Referring to his own commitment to step down before the next election, Mr Cameron said: 'I am not standing for re-election, I have no other agenda than what is best for our country.'"

The Guardian describes how Mr Johnson shook his head and shouted "rubbish" as Mr Cameron mocked the Uxbridge MP by likening his idea for a second referendum to couples beginning divorce proceedings in order to renew their marriage vows.

"In a sign that a Tory truce on Europe is under severe strain before the official campaigning has even begun, the prime minister infuriated anti-EU campaigners by describing Johnson's idea of a second vote as undemocratic and one 'for the birds'," says the Guardian.

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Image caption Which direction will the UK go?

The Independent says private enmity between the two men broke out in public for the first time as the prime minister launched a "withering attack" on the mayor.

"A furious Mr Johnson, who was seated behind Mr Cameron on the backbenches, heckled the prime minister during the attack at one stage shouting 'rubbish, rubbish'," states the Independent.

The Express recounts how an "embattled" Mr Cameron "clashed angrily" with Mr Johnson as their "bitter EU feud erupted dramatically at Westminster".

In the words of the Mail: "One observer said the parliamentary exchange was jaw-dropping; another described it as the most savage 'blue on blue' clash since Geoffrey Howe took on Margaret Thatcher in 1990."

The Sun dubs the clash as "NoGo v BoJo" while the Mirror calls it "all-out warfare".

The Times says the "opening barrage" in the EU referendum battle came as the pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar in seven years in the light of Mr Johnson's decision to join the Leave campaign.

The Financial Times reports that rating agencies Moody's and Fitch warned that a vote to leave the EU could have implications for the UK's credit ratings, while bookmakers cut the odds of a Brexit to 2/1.

Also looking at the betting is the Star, which says bookies made Mr Johnson 5/2 favourite to be the next prime minister, ahead of George Osborne, after he announced which faction he would side with.


'Bullingdon Boy scorned'

This sort of political theatre is, of course, a godsend for the sketch writers.

"Hell hath no fury, one Labour MP observed, like a Bullingdon Boy scorned," writes Patrick Kidd in the Times.

"Boris Johnson's decision to throw in his lot with the Out crowd was seen in Downing Street as a declaration of war and yesterday the prime minister was happy to take the fight to his old chum.

"When the prime minister finished his statement, the Speaker called on the leader of the opposition. Oddly, this wasn't Boris but a bearded man on the Labour front bench."

The Telegraph's Michael Deacon describes what happened next.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption David Cameron went on the front foot against Boris Johnson

"'Last week I was in Brussels,' said Jeremy Corbyn, 'meeting European leaders. And one of them said to me…'

"'Who are you?' supplied Christopher Pincher (Con, Tamworth). It was 35 seconds - seriously, I timed it - before the Tory mirth died down.

"It's a remarkable achievement. Even when senior Tories are openly savaging each other in the Commons, Jeremy Corbyn still manages to end up the butt of the joke."

John Crace in the Guardian says the prime minister's statement to the Commons became less a debate on the EU referendum than a drive-by shooting - with the mayor as the target.

The Independent's Tom Peck says Labour's Ben Bradshaw "slapped his hands against his knees like an eight-year-old boy suddenly rewarded with lashings and lashings of ginger beer" in reaction to Mr Cameron's marriage analogy.

"To call the prime minister's statement to the House on the EU summit a French farce would almost be a compliment," he writes.

"History does not offer a convenient metaphor for the spectacle of two sides forced to fight one another when they've both got civil wars they'd rather be getting on with."


Maternity review

The Times reports that mothers-to-be will be handed £3,000 by the NHS in England to buy the services of private midwives under plans to cut the number of hospital births.

Home births, acupuncture and hypnobirthing, says the Times, would be offered by companies and midwife co-operatives in exchange for the vouchers "as health chiefs aim to use competition to force the NHS to listen to women's choices".

The paper says a long-awaited report on the future of NHS maternity services was ordered in response to the deaths of 11 babies and subsequent cover-ups at the Morecambe Bay trust.

The Times states: "The report tells midwives and doctors to end the culture clashes and turf wars that put safety at risk.

"The report finds that the NHS has struggled to provide women with personal care from midwives and doctors despite years of promises.

"It concludes that allowing women to spend the cost of their NHS care elsewhere will encourage charities and private companies to offer home births and continuous care throughout pregnancy in an alternative way to the health service."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Concerns about the safety of maternity services were highlighted

The Telegraph says NHS bosses said the plans aimed to ensure popular services receive the most funding, driving out poor care.

However, the Telegraph continues, charities expressed fear that women could be put under pressure to choose the cheapest birth, rather than the safest.

The Guardian says: "The independent review, chaired by Lady Cumberlege, was commissioned by NHS England in the recognition that maternity services are not as safe as they could be and do not always give women the best possible experience of childbirth."

The Independent notes: "The review highlighted some stark concerns about the safety of maternity services, even though there have been drastic improvements in the past decade.

"The authors said that hospitals did not always admit when something had gone wrong."


Finding Felix

Finally, the Times brings us news that a former police officer has set up a pet detective agency dedicated to tracking down animals that have gone missing from the homes of the well-heeled.

"Chairman Mao had given his guards the slip in vain," it begins. "Trapped for three days without food or water, he became increasingly isolated and disoriented by his surroundings.

"Five hours after a search party was sent out, the black-and-white cat was located in an unoccupied flat after climbing through a flap that was set to 'in' only."

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Media captionLondon Evening Standard political correspondent Pippa Crerar and broadcaster John Stapleton join the BBC News Channel to review Tuesday's front pages.

The Times describes this as just another day for Animal Search UK.

It found model Abbey Clancy's missing ginger-and-white cat Maggie, and was enlisted by Tour de France cyclist Mark Cavendish to find his cat Edward.

Tom Watkins, who founded the agency, tells the Times: "I decided to set up something on my own that I could be in charge of as well as combining my love of animals with my investigatory skills."


Eye-catching headlines

  • Maths revision: E + 50 years = A-level grade B: Standards in A-level maths have fallen so sharply that a candidate awarded a B grade today would have earned only an E grade 50 years ago, a study suggests Times
  • Inside the mind of a seagull: why the feathered pests flock to beautiful cities: Drawn to tourist-friendly spots with Georgian architecture and an abundance of food, seagulls settle where they are able to live longest and breed as much as possible, according to psychologists examining why gulls are such a problem in Bath Telegraph
  • First World War fort with a view: yours for £350,000: Haile Sand fort, located in the Humber off the coast near Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, built to defend the estuary from German attack, is on the market for £350,000 Guardian
  • Scientists shine light (millions of times stronger than the Sun) to see how bacteria resist antibiotics: A new generation of antibiotics could emerge from a study revealing the hidden Achilles' heel of many drug-resistant superbugs Independent