Newspaper headlines: Friday papers target PM's financial disclosure

David Cameron Image copyright AFP/getty
Image caption The papers seem to think David Cameron must face further pressure

Even among pro-government newspapers there is little sympathy for the prime minister's plight after he disclosed that he used to have shares in an offshore fund run by his father.

The Daily Telegraph points out that David Cameron's "dramatic mea culpa" was "the fifth time Downing Street had issued a different response to the astonishing furore" over the Panama Papers.

It calls the government's handling of the affair a public relations disaster, a theme echoed in the i, where Andrew Grice writes that Downing Street broke the "spin doctor's first rule" in a controversy - to get all the facts out, quickly.

The Daily Mail describes "how Cameron squirmed" in the TV interview when he revealed his former investment in Blairmore holdings.

Not surprisingly the Daily Mirror goes further, accusing him of "grotesque contortions" before belatedly saying he formerly had £30,000 in Blairmore. It headlines a spread on the affair "quit now, PM".

The Guardian describes the scene when the PM addressed students at Exeter, and one asked him about "tax avoidance - something you have personal experience of".


Indian doctors 'to plug gaps in NHS'

Image copyright PA
  • The Guardian is among papers reporting that the NHS in England wants doctors from India to solve the shortage of GPs.
  • It says British GP leaders claim the move is an "admission of failure" by ministers.
  • The Sun says the plan is to bring in 400 Indian doctors after 72 GP practices closed in England last year.
  • According to the Daily Star, the figure is 5,000.
  • But the Mirror says it is "silly politics" which will demoralise our medics and deter UK trainees from becoming family doctors.
  • It says the move would be "international aid in reverse" with Britain blatantly profiting from a poorer nation.

And it seems the pressure will continue. The Telegraph lists "more grey areas surrounding Cameron's tax affairs". It asks whether the prime minister's mother is a beneficiary of an offshore fund and says Mr Cameron faces more questions about whether his £300,000 inheritance from his father included money from offshore sources.

Several papers which often support the government still seem cross with Mr Cameron over the plan to distribute government booklets at public expense, giving arguments for remaining in the EU.

"Send it back as junk mail," is the Sun's advice, saying voters should "bombard" the PM with unwanted pro-EU leaflets.

Having had a day to examine the content of the government's brochures, several papers contain point-by-point fact-checks on them. The verdicts vary.


Eye-catching headlines


The Financial Times says the government leaflet comes much closer to being "true and fair" than material produced by the two opposing referendum campaigns.

Not so the Daily Express. Its commentator Chris Roycroft-Davis accuses the government of "pumping out preposterous nonsense" about staying in the EU.

And the Times reports that the Electoral Commission has said it is unhappy about the government's actions and wants to change the rules on government advertising before referendums.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionJournalist and writer Lucy Cavendish and Tom Bergin, business correspondent and author from Reuters, join the BBC News Channel to discuss Friday's front pages.

The Telegraph says angry Tory eurosceptics plan reprisals over government plans to send pro-EU booklets to every UK household, with one MP saying there may be "organised rebellions to grind government to a halt".

New Day prefers a human interest story to the Panama and referendum rows. It reports that a mother and the son she was forced to give up for adoption 32 years ago have become lovers and want to have a child together.

And the Guardian continues its coverage of the worldwide impact of the Panama Papers revelations, quoting President Putin criticising journalists for seeking to pin allegations on his friends, while reporting that China has ordered websites to remove all content relating to the papers.


Reward for success - a 60% pay cut

Image copyright PA
  • Several papers say Co-op group head Richard Pennycook has asked for a 60% pay cut after the firm reported a rise in underlying profits.
  • The Financial Times says the Co-op has denied that it risks losing its boss to a higher-paying rival.
  • Mr Pennycook faces a salary cut from £1.25m to £750,000, says the Times - but could still earn £1.2m a year if he hits all his performance targets.
  • According to the Guardian he is still in line for rewards totalling over £3m this year before the cut takes effect.

The Times claims a cabinet split in France has cast further doubt over plans to build an £18bn nuclear power station in Somerset, with energy minister Segolene Royal saying a decision on the project should be postponed.

And the Mail urges anyone finding a bedraggled toy dog dumped on the ground in northern England to look again - as it may be a returned space traveller.

Sam was launched to the edge of space on Tuesday attached to a helium balloon, as part of an experiment teaching pupils in Morecambe about space and the curvature of the earth.

The balloon burst and the equipment it carried came to earth near Burnley - but Sam was nowhere to be found.

Image caption Sam went missing during his return from space