Newspaper headlines: War of words in EU debate

The latest salvos in the EU referendum debate, and the conviction of footballer Adam Johnson, make the front pages.

The Guardian focuses on a letter, leaked to the paper, from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chief executive Torsten Muller-Otvos warning its staff of the dangers of the UK leaving the EU.

Mr Muller-Otvos said that while the decision was down to British voters, EU trade was important for the BMW-owned company.

The Guardian says: "Out campaigners, who branded the document a 'dodgy dossier', will be angry about this intervention by BMW and ask why a German multinational is wading into the debate over Britain's future in the EU.

"Richard Carter, director of communications at Rolls-Royce, said he believed the letter was justified, arguing that it was the company's duty to outline its position to employees and tell them the risks of Brexit."

Another aspect of the debate makes the lead for the Financial Times, which has an interview with French economy minister Emmanuel Macron.

The paper says Mr Macron said a UK exit would mean the migrant camp in Calais moving across the Channel to England.

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Media captionDan Bilefsky of the New York Times, and Buzzfeed chief political correspondent Emily Ashton, join the BBC News Channel to review Thursday's front pages.

The FT explains: "Mr Macron said that Brexit could scupper a bilateral deal with France, known as the Le Touquet agreement, that allows the UK to carry out border controls - and keep unwanted migrants - on the French side of the Channel.

"He also said he expected financial services workers in London to relocate to France once their institutions lost the 'passport' rights that allowed them to operate across the EU."

The Daily Telegraph reports on the row between the boss of the pro-EU campaign group Britain Stronger In Europe, Lord Rose, and Tory MP Andrew Tyrie at the Treasury Select Committee.

The group has been accused of a "scandalous misuse of data" by citing CBI figures that estimate being in the EU is worth £3,000 a year to the average UK household.

The Telegraph says Lord Rose told MPs that Labour costs would go up if the UK quits the EU - or as the paper puts it "wages will rise if Britain votes to leave the European Union".

Eurosceptic campaigners said his comments helped the case for "Brexit", the Telegraph continues.

The Times says: "Lord Rose's comments were pounced on by Eurosceptics who said that it was proof that low-paid workers should back leaving the EU in June's referendum."


'Tolerated excess'

Former Middlesbrough, Manchester City, Sunderland and England footballer Adam Johnson appears on many of the front pages after he was found guilty of sexual activity with a girl aged 15.

The Times describes how he was told to "say goodbye" to his infant daughter by a judge who said he faced five years in jail.

"A year to the day since his arrest, the former Sunderland and England player was found guilty of the offence against the girl," says the Times. "He is the first Premier League player to face prison for such charges."

The Guardian says Johnson nodded in the glass dock, flanked by two officers, when asked by the judge if he understood he would receive a substantial prison sentence.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Footballer Adam Johnson will be sentenced at the end of March

"Johnson left the dock without answering a journalist who asked if he would apologise to the victim," it says. "A minder carried a black holdall packed in case Johnson was jailed immediately."

The Independent says footballers live lives of "unbridled funds and tolerated excess".

"The potential for controversies emerging is arguably exacerbated by the working pattern of the game's stars and the way their lifestyles fit around this," says the Independent.

"Once they finish training, usually around noon, and have had their lunch in the canteen, a professional footballer has an ocean of time to fill and access to reservoirs of money with which to do it."

The Mail calls it the "downfall of a sporting idol", while the Sun says "success went to his head" .


Clinton trumped?

The papers reflect on the fallout from the Super Tuesday US presidential primaries that left Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton as front-runners.

Mr Trump stares out from the front of the Independent, pointing, in what it likens to a Lord Kitchener-type pose.

The paper's Rupert Cornwell, in Washington, writes: "Super Tuesday is history, and three things about the race to become America's next President are now clear.

"Barring indictment over her private email server, Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. Third, his hostile takeover of the party is generating a split that threatens its very existence."

The Financial Times reports that several dozen Republican foreign policy experts, including former Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, have written a letter outlining their objections to Mr Trump as he "tightens his grip on the party's presidential nomination".

The Telegraph says many senior figures in the "deeply divided party" looked on in "despair and horror" as the billionaire won seven of 11 states, "establishing a runaway lead and threatening to make victory inevitable".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Donald Trump is proving a divisive figure within the Republican Party

As the Guardian puts it: "The Republican establishment was left reeling yesterday as a triumphant presidential primary night for Donald Trump failed to unite the party against an increasingly confident-looking Hillary Clinton.

"As results from the dozen states voting on Super Tuesday were digested, the party front runners appeared significantly closer to squaring off against each other in a bitter general election clash in November.

"But, whereas many Democrats viewed Clinton's seven big wins over rival Bernie Sanders as a sign that she was finally vanquishing her tougher than expected challenge from the left and beginning to unite progressives behind her, the acrimonious civil war inside the Republican party showed less promise of reconciliation."

The Express believes Mr Trump is blazing a trail to the White House.

In a leading article, the Times says Super Tuesday has set the stage for a national election that Mr Trump could win.

"In the world's most responsive democracy, he has responded quickest to voters' mood of anger and impatience," it states. "If Mrs Clinton fails to respond in kind she will be trumped."


'Thanks, chuck'

The passing of Coronation Street creator and writer Tony Warren, who has died at the age of 79, is marked in the press.

The Guardian recounts that he wrote the first 13 episodes himself and was still writing "Corrie" scripts in the late 1970s.

Sun TV features editor Jen Pharo says ITV's flagship show was a soaring success thanks to the realism of its characters, honest storylines and gentle humour.

The Independent's media correspondent Adam Sherwin writes: "It could have been a BBC drama called Our Street.

"But Tony Warren's determination to introduce the authentic voice of working-class life to the nation's living rooms produced Coronation Street, the world's longest-running television soap.

"Warren dusted down a script originally offered to the BBC in 1957.

Image copyright Granada TV
Image caption Tony Warren on the set of Coronation Street in 1975

"Renamed Florizel Street, it would be set on a terraced street of back-to-back houses in Salford and feature characters inspired by the dominating, matriarchal women of Warren's Lancashire upbringing.

"Warren's script, with its unvarnished language and frequently unsympathetic characters, shocked Granada bosses.

"However the writer, just 24 when he first sketched his vision for the fictional town of Weatherfield, persuaded the company to go ahead with the drama."

The Star reports that tributes flooded in for "the first man of British soap". The Express says the soap's stars were "devastated".

The Sun says: "Tony Warren wasn't a household name, but he was a giant influence on British life.

"He created Corrie - the show that has been part of our cultural fabric for half a century and brought pleasure to hundreds of millions of people.

"Legacies don't come much better. Thanks, chuck."


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