Newspaper headlines: Labour coup talk, Leicester City parties

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn features prominently in Wednesday's papers, as the continuing row over anti-Semitism in the party and rumours of a possible coup against his leadership are covered on the last day of campaigning for elections across the UK.

The Daily Telegraph features a column by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who says it is "astonishing" that recent comments by figures on the left of British politics "presume to define the relationship between Judaism and Zionism despite themselves being neither Jews nor Zionists".

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Rabbi Mirvis continues that "one can no more separate [Zionism] from Judaism than one can separate the City of London from Great Britain".

Welcoming Mr Corbyn's decision to investigate prejudice in the Labour Party, the chief rabbi hopes it will be followed by decisive actions as "we cannot rid our society of anti-Semitism with political posturing or empty promises of action never to be fulfilled".

The Times notes that Labour announced its inquiry into anti-Semitism after a string of councillors, as well as Bradford West MP Naz Shah and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, were suspended over remarks they made.

The paper adds that the continuation of the row "has left Labour MPs in despair over the leadership's failure to close it down". It reports that Mr Corbyn played down rumours of a leadership coup, saying it had been "whipped up by a 'golden circle' within the media obsessed with his future".

The Guardian says polls suggest Mr Corbyn "remains impossible to defeat in any vote of Labour members", citing research by YouGov which suggests that if he were to face a leadership challenge this summer, he would still gain 43% of first preference votes from party members. The organisation's Joe Twyman says there has been no "significant change" in support from those who brought Mr Corbyn to the role last year.

Mr Corbyn, writing in the I, says while he "never dreamed" he would one day be leader, he promises to "simultaneously transform the Labour Party, transform politics and to hold the government to account", adding that if they are to win in 2020 "we need to be a transformative opposition".

In its editorial, the Daily Mail says while Labour under Mr Corbyn is "more divided and chaotic than ever before", the paper "takes no pleasure" in its "implosion". "A functioning democracy needs a strong opposition to account", the paper says, but concludes "the ordinary British voter has little in common with hard-left party hacks".

In the New Day, columnist Susie Boniface agrees, saying that "the chances of Labour ever returning to Downing Street with him in charge vanish into non-existence". On the same page, shadow minister Richard Burgon says Mr Corbyn "is a Labour leader who champions our public services and the aspirations of ordinary people. That's why he's the right person for the job".

'Class war'

There's a notable split among the papers over the justification and rationale behind Tuesday's "strike" by some parents and pupils in protest at the government's new Standard Assessment Tests (Sats) for Year Two primary school children in England.

The I reports that some parents believe the tests are "subjecting their children to unnecessary stress and taking the fun out of learning". The paper adds that public figures such as Children's Laureate Chris Riddell, author Michael Rosen and adventurer Ben Fogle have backed the parents' action.

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The Daily Mirror reports "thousands of children joined the strike" and that parents say the tests "have left pupils aged six and seven in tears and suffering sleepless nights".

According to the Guardian, the Department for Education put the number of children who took part in the "strike" as low as 1,000, although the paper reports some schools saw "considerable numbers of children absent".

The Times quotes Ofsted head Sir Michael Wilshaw as saying that while he understands testing "can sometimes be stressful... I am also confident that most schools do everything they can to minimise the stress".

But in its editorial, the Sun says parents who took their children out of school for the day should be fined, adding "if kids of six or seven struggle with the three Rs they may never catch up. Rigorous assessment is vital, even at an early age". The paper adds: "these middle-class parents seem more stressed about that than their children."

It's a view reflected in the Daily Telegraph's leader column. The paper says while it is "preferable for schools to be places of fun and happiness... they exist to teach children and develop them to their full potential, a lesson the parents would do well to understand".

As an aside, the Daily Mail notes that Education Minister Nick Gibb wrongly answered a question for 11-year-olds when he appeared on Radio 4's The World at One on Tuesday. He incorrectly stated the word "after" in a particular sentence was a preposition, when it was a subordinating conjunction.

Eye-catching headlines

  • It's spread of heaven from loaf butterer - the headline is a bit tricky to get your head around, but this story in the Daily Mirror celebrates the ingenuity of the human race, as a device has been invented which can butter a whole loaf of bread in 30 seconds. It's called the Offundo, for reasons that aren't immediately obvious.
  • Big daddy? China tells media to stop using Xi moniker - according to the Guardian, Chinese state media has been told to stop using the nickname "Big Daddy Xi" to refer to the country's president. The paper accepts it's not clear why this missive has been handed down, but there is thought to be unease in Beijing about "the perception of a cult of personality".
  • Lego kits are ruining children's creativity, says Ben Fogle - despite adventurer Fogle having been named as a brand ambassador for the Danish brick toy giant four years ago, he now believes Lego is "harming children's development and stifling creativity", according to the Daily Mail. Lego has "transformed into a rigid box-ticking discipline", he reportedly said.
  • Carp thief's otterly ruthless - this week's wordplay prize goes to the Daily Express, as it reports a "fish lover" whose valuable koi carp kept going missing set up a night vision camera to find the culprit, only to discover it was one of the aquatic mammals. Plenty to Tarka-bout there.

More than just the M1

For Fleet Street, it's the morning after the night before in Leicester (although more accurately by the time the papers hit your doormat it's the morning after the night of the morning of the night before) and a chance to reflect on the city's football team's Premier League fairy story.

The Sun devotes four inside pages to the aftermath of the Foxes' first ever top-flight title, reporting how "workers reported in sick, many with sore throats caused by cheering and chanting 'championi!' all night".

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The paper also calls club scout Steve Walsh "Fantastic Mr Fox" for having "assembled a bunch of Premier League rejects, lower league hopefuls and unknown foreigners and turned them into England's unlikeliest champions".

It's hard to avoid Leicester's talismanic striker Jamie Vardy on the pages of Wednesday's papers, with the Daily Mail reporting that the 29-year-old will "pocket a £20,000-a-week pay rise". Not bad for a player who began his career earning £30 a week with Stockbridge Park Steels.

Virtually all the papers re-print a picture tweeted by the club of Vardy and a fan called Lee Chapman - who bears an uncanny resemblance to the striker. The Daily Express says Vardy spotted his "double" Mr Chapman from the team bus and "hauled him on" to pose for photos.

Prior to the football club's success, Leicester's previous claim to fame was the discovery of the remains of King Richard III underneath a city car park, notes the Daily Telegraph, with the subsequent reburial "causing quite a stir, but it was as nothing compared with the spotlight now trained on Leicester".

It's a theme expanded upon by the Times in its leader column. While suggesting Leicester is "perhaps most famous for being where the M1 joins the M69", the paper believes it should be celebrated for more. "Leicester is not only a successful model of integration and social cohesion, but an essential one", it says, praising the entrepreneurship of its immigrant community, without which it "would be a declining post-industrial city".

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Media captionClaire Cohen of the Daily Telegraph and the author Matthew Green review the front pages

It's genetic, say Labradors

Several papers report the arguably unsurprising news that Labradors are genetically programmed to overeat.

The Sun says a faulty fat gene discovered by researchers at Cambridge University is to blame for the breed being more likely to beg for food and gain weight than other dogs.

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Around a quarter of Labradors analysed by the Cambridge scientists had the genetic mutation, reports the I.

The Daily Mail points out this "may also explain why most guide dogs are Labradors or Labrador crosses" as they work harder for the food rewards given out during training.

The research backs this up, says the Guardian, because of the 81 assistance dogs studied by the Cambridge team, 76% had at least one copy of the mutant gene.

There are downsides, notes the Daily Express, as the breed is liable to "become portly and vulnerable to mobility problems, diabetes, cancer and heart disease".

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