Newspaper headlines: 'Labour has few safe seats left'

A day after Zac Goldsmith lost the Richmond Park by-election, the Times says it's Labour - rather than the Conservatives - that should be worried.

The party won just 1,515 votes in the election, causing the candidate, Christian Wolmar, to lose his £500 deposit.

"Labour faces being crushed between Ukip and resurgent Liberal Democrat party," begins the Times' lead story.

Labour MP Chuka Umunna says there are "no safe Labour seats". Meanwhile, a "senior Corbyn ally" tells the paper: "We do have two different strong pulls.

"There are metropolitan seats, in London, Manchester and Leeds that are strongly pro-EU.

"Then equally, there are dozens and dozens of seats which are working class, where many did not vote to remain."

The Guardian thinks Jeremy Corbyn's party faces a pincer movement.

"While the party battles with the Ukip march to the right, it could also face a threat from elsewhere," writes political editor Anushka Asthana.

The Daily Mirror's editorial calls for bold action.

"While Theresa May got a bloody nose in Richmond," it says, "Labour could suffer a graver injury if it fails to set out a clear, bold offer to voters."


The answer?

Janet Street-Porter thinks he might be.

"Bookmakers are offering 33-to-1 odds on Ed Balls becoming the next leader of the Labour party and I'd be amazed if he doesn't capitalise on his new broad appeal," she writes in the i.

"In an age of disaffection, what matters more than nit-picking over policies is the ability to communicate and reach out. The new Ed Balls has it; Ed Miliband never did.

"Corbyn might appeal to the young but it's the Strictly audience who will determine the next leader of the Labour Party."

The man himself hints at a comeback in an interview with Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian.

"I'm quite happy with the idea that I might spend the next five years doing some teaching and some Norwich City [where he is chairman] and some television maybe," says Balls.

"But I think I'd be disappointed if I didn't do something that felt like it was public service… I'd love to have a chance to do that kind of thing again."

The fork in Mr Balls' road is, perhaps, best summed up the following line.

"He will miss the Manchester leg of the Strictly tour because he's flying to Arizona to give a speech on the world economy," writes Freedland.


Brex appeal

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On Monday, the Supreme Court will begin hearing the government's appeal against the High Court's Brexit ruling in October.

The lower court ruled that Parliament must vote before the process of leaving the EU begins.

That ruling caused the Daily Mail to brand the judges "Enemies of the People" - and today, the paper makes no apology.

"Certainly, our headline - which reflected the views of several senior politicians (and countless millions who voted for Brexit) - was provocative.

"But we make no apology for putting the vital issue of unaccountable judicial power on the map."

As if to prove the point, the paper profiles the 11 Supreme Court judges who will hear the appeal.

"To be absolutely clear, this paper does not for a moment question the judges' integrity or intelligence," the editorial says.

"[But] we find it disturbing that no fewer than five Supreme Court judges have publicly expressed views which appear to be sympathetic to the EU, while six have close links with people who have publicly attacked the Leave campaign."

In the Telegraph, Charles Moore expects the government's appeal to fail.

"It will be a great shame if this battle is not properly fought," he writes.

"We shall have reached a dangerous moment in our constitutional history.

"Our decisions about our collective future, made at the ballot box, will have been unpicked by judges."


News in numbers

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  • 42%: Increase in alcohol sales in England and Wales since the 1980s (Daily Mail)
  • 7%: Fall in the price of champagne since June (the Sun)
  • 33: Age at which people consider themselves "adult" (Daily Mirror)

Fine mess

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A woman from Norfolk has returned a library book 63 years late.

The unnamed borrower took Travels With A Donkey In The Cevennes by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1953 from North Walsham High School.

She rediscovered it during a clearout, and took it back to the school.

"The lady apologised for not returning it sooner - but better late than never," says the librarian Liz Sawyer.

"Fortunately for the borrower," says the Times, "North Walsham does not fine people for overdue books."

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Media captionTorcuil Crichton and Renee Kaplan review Saturday's papers for BBC News