BBC News

Newspaper headlines: Brexit 'war' fear, and Bafta 'soapbox'

By Rob Corp
BBC News

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Prime Minister David Cameron's warning from history over the consequences of a vote to leave the European Union features on the front pages of several newspapers and is covered extensively in the inside pages of all the main titles.

"The prime minister will invoke two world wars and the Balkans conflict as he makes his case for the EU," says the Times, adding a speech Mr Cameron's due to make on Monday comes as referendum campaigning moves into the final stage, "with postal votes reaching households in less than three weeks", ahead of the 23 June vote.

The Daily Mail describes the PM's speech as "his biggest of the campaign so far", in which he will say the white crosses of Commonwealth war cemeteries "stand as silent testament to the price this country has paid to help restore peace and order in Europe". But in its editorial column, the paper says Mr Cameron's argument is "hugely muddled" and "fails to explain why cutting loose from the EU bureaucracy would jeopardise peace".

The Daily Telegraph reports the prime minister will say "whenever we turn our back on Europe, sooner or later we come to regret it". Writing in the same paper, Eurosceptic Conservative MP Julian Lewis dismisses the idea that the EU has made the continent safer, arguing there is a "profound threat" from its "fixation on a common foreign and defence policy for all its members, including the United Kingdom".

The I says the speech is Mr Cameron's "most provocative intervention" and comes after two former spy chiefs warned that "Brexit could hamper Britain's ability to defend itself against terrorism".

"The EU's commitment to open borders and mass immigration has damaged our national security as have European laws which stop us dealing with terrorists," says the Daily Express's editorial.

The prime minister is switching from the economic risks of leaving the EU, says the Guardian, "to winning over voters' hearts as well as minds in favour of staying".

The Sun's editorial column recaps the various arguments made by both camps in the referendum debate over the weekend, saying "if there is any truth out there, it is this: nobody knows what leaving or staying might bring". The paper says voters are "crying out for more positivity and honesty from both camps".

The Daily Mirror strikes a similar tone in its editorial. Noting that every voter must ask "are we safer in out of Europe?", the paper adds "jobs, prosperity, security and migration are on the agenda. It's make your mind up time".

Pause has effect?

Several papers pick up on news that junior doctors' leaders and the government are to resume talks over the controversial new contract which has seen medics walk out on strike in recent months in protest at its imposition.

The Daily Express reports the resumption of negotiations comes after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt agreed to a five-day "pause" in imposing the contract on junior doctors in England.

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"Government sources are optimistic about the chances of a deal," says the Times. Junior doctors indicated over the weekend they were willing to negotiate on weekend pay, it reports. The contract as it stands would limit higher pay to after 5pm on Saturdays, but more could be paid if doctors are willing to reach a deal, the paper says.

Chairman of the British Medical Association's junior doctors' committee, Johann Malawana, said the talks - held under the auspices of conciliation service Acas - would take place on "outstanding issues in this dispute, which include but are not limited to, unsocial hours", reports the Daily Telegraph.

While noting the talks may bring the end of the "bitter dispute", the Guardian says fresh opposition has arisen in Manchester, with junior doctors at the city's Royal Infirmary urging the trust's chief executive not to bring in the contract, "even if he is ordered to do so by the health secretary".

Eye-catching headlines

  • Make fun, not war - the way to European unity - a French man has compiled a book of 345 jokes Europeans tell about their neighbours, reports the Guardian. A Portuguese joke included is: "In a survey, 11 out of 10 Spaniards said they felt superior to others." Editor Romain Seignovert tells the paper laughing at the neighbours is "recognising, even celebrating, our particularities".
  • Bread sales plummet as we lose our taste for sarnies - Britons bought one million fewer loaves of bread a week in 2015, says the Daily Mail. The drop is being put down to people buying ready-made sandwiches, or cutting carbs. "Fewer sarnies, of course, means fewer loaves sold," says a spokesman, Eeyoreishly.
  • Man kicked off plane for maths - the I brings us this from the US, where Italian economist Guido Menzio was removed from a plane because a fellow passenger mistook his mathematical equations for Arabic, and thought he was a terrorist. Mr Menzio was allowed back on the flight after being questioned.
  • Forget fine wine, now there's a £250 vintage beer - London brewer Fuller's has been bottling an annual Vintage Ale every year since 1997, with the Daily Mail reporting one bottle from that batch will now set you back £250. The brewery recommends buying three of the 2016 brew, "one to drink now, one in three years, and save the other for a very rainy day". Cheers!

Baby boon

There's new hope for parents using IVF to help them have a baby, as the first child is born in the UK as a result of a pioneering new technique which can boost the chance of a woman in her mid-30s getting pregnant by 80%, says the Times.

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The paper speaks to proud new parents Ewa Wybacz and Sergio Russu. Ms Wybacz was told she would be unable to have children after suffering peritonitis and a life-threatening viral condition.

The Daily Mail picks up the story, saying the couple have a healthy son, Biagio, after genetic screening "allowed doctors to select a healthy, early-stage embryo" which has the best chance of implanting in the patient's womb. The decision of which embryo to choose is based on the number of chromosomes it has, as the wrong number can lead to a miscarriage, or genetic disorder such as Down's syndrome, reports the paper.

The first cycle of IVF produced 10 embryos, but DNA screening revealed only three had the normal set of chromosomes in their cells, says the Guardian.

The Daily Telegraph notes that "usually, fewer than one in three IVF pregnancies is successful, but using the new technique, Ms Wybacz became pregnant immediately and in January, Biagio was born".

What the commentators say

media captionBroadcaster Lynn Faulds Wood and the Independent's James Rampton review the front pages

A red-carpeting at the Baftas

This year's TV Baftas - held on Sunday - were either glitz and glam or hijacked by luvvies to defend the BBC - depending on which paper you read.

According to the I, director Peter Kosminsky, who won the best drama Bafta for Tudor-set Wolf Hall, "launched a blistering attack against the Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, saying the government was trying to 'eviscerate' the BBC".

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"It's a public broadcaster independent of government, not a state broadcaster where the people who make the editorial decisions are appointed by the government. A bit like those bastions of democracy, Russia and North Korea," the Times quotes Kosminsky as saying.

Kosminsky's speech was edited for broadcast when the awards were shown on BBC One an hour later, reports the Guardian. "His reference to Russia and North Korea was cut, but large parts remained intact," it says.

The Sun manages to cover both bases. While red carpet shots of the fabulous gowns on show grace the double-page spread, the paper says the awards ceremony was "hijacked" by "luvvies" to defend the BBC. In its Sun Says editorial, the paper accuses "well-fed luvvies" for wanting their "meal ticket preserved" saying they should not "obscure the need to get a grip on the BBC's out-of-control website and dodgy scheduling".

The Daily Mail reports that TV Bafta best actor winner Mark Rylance "also used his speech as a soapbox for a defence of the BBC".

The Times remarks that the winners' remarks comes ahead of this week's white paper, "which is expected to contain plans for the broadcaster to compete less aggressively against its commercial rivals".

While reporting on Kosminsky's speech, the Daily Mirror casts its eye over the couture on show at the TV Baftas, and picks out Britain's Got Talent judges Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden in particular for their fabulous frocks.

Peston v Marr: it's a tie

The papers give their verdict on former BBC economics editor Robert Peston's new Sunday morning ITV show, the adventurously-named Peston on Sunday.

The Times notes the "smart casual" dress code "contrasted noticeably with the crisp, suit-heavy sartorial character" seen on Peston's BBC One rival, the Andrew Marr show.

The ITV show was a tie-free zone, says the I, with Peston's first big-name guest, Chancellor George Osborne, "looking like he'd had the offending object confiscated backstage".

Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail says "Peston himself was arguably the more fascinating compere" compared with his former BBC colleague, and is a "living exaggeration, an exclamation mark made flesh, endearingly dotty".

Writing in the Guardian, Mark Lawson says Peston on Sunday "risks winning the energy medal but losing the ratings war to the tie-knotted, old technology Andrew Marr".

The tie issue is serious enough to warrant inclusion in the Daily Telegraph's leader column. Noting that earlier, Justice Secretary and EU referendum Leave campaigner Michael Gove had appeared on the Marr show "with a splendid blue and white tie", the paper says "if a politician wants to project authority on a Sunday, he should insist on appearing properly dressed, even if Peston isn't".

Making us click

Daily Mirror - 'Brexit' could trigger World War Three, warns David Cameron

Daily Telegraph - Michelle Mone admits embarrassing gaffe after lifting up man she thought was a six-year-old boy

I - Doomsday warning: Labour and the Tories are in more danger than they realise

Daily Mail - Now it's REALLY serious ... Pippa Middleton has moved into her hedge fund manager lover's £17million West London mansion

Daily Express - TRUTH behind the Gibraltar row: How US submarine threatened Royal Navy to act on Spain

The Guardian - Bafta TV awards 2016: Wolf Hall director says BBC is under threat

FT - Victory for Sadiq Khan highlights tolerant face of London