Newspaper headlines: House sales 'slump', Tony Blair Brexit speech and NHS staff 'crisis'

Tony Blair's rallying cry to people who want to defy Brexit goes down like a lead balloon in many of Saturday's papers.

According to the Daily Express, "yesterday's man has no place in modern Britain".

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The paper cites a poll which, it says, demonstrates that more than two-thirds of voters now want the government to press ahead with implementing Brexit.

The Daily Mail brands the former prime minister "messianic". The paper's leader column accuses Mr Blair of hypocrisy, having "twice promised a referendum on the EU and reneged both times".

Mr Blair, says the Guardian, is facing a backlash from Labour MPs for "fuelling the party's divisions over Brexit" with his speech.

But in the same paper, John McTernan, who was Mr Blair's political secretary for part of his period in office, says his former boss is offering a "principled and optimistic argument for a better future for Britain".

However, commentator Rafael Behr tells the paper that while Mr Blair has a reasonable argument, he cannot be the "trusted messenger" who he says is needed to deliver it.


And most of the papers continue to be exercised by the government's forthcoming shake-up of business rates.

The Sun has spoken to the owner of the pie shop opposite Arsenal's stadium in north London.

While his rates are doubling, the paper reports, those of the football club are getting a 2.3% cut.

"This isn't fair," says the owner. "Go tax someone else."

In the Daily Mirror, Lord Sugar writes that the rate revaluation will put a lot of small traders out of business.

He wants the government to scrap business rates for traders with a turnover below a figure yet to be defined, and "whack the deficit on the giant retailers that dominate the major high streets".

The Daily Telegraph says it has spoken to three former trade secretaries - Lord Tebbit, Sir Vince Cable and Dame Margaret Beckett - who have all voiced concerns about the changes.

Under the headline "shopkeeper who spoke for Britain", the Daily Mail carries a letter written by a wine merchant in the Welsh borders to the chief secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, which warns the plans risk turning "the whole of Britain into a retail wasteland".


The lead story in the Times warns of a slump in the housing market, with homeowners in some areas reportedly waiting an average of 10 months to sell their properties.

"Inflated asking prices and economic uncertainty cause the housing market to stall," it reports.

Parts of southern England, where prices have risen rapidly, and the north-east, where the economy is slow, are worst affected. The paper says that "real pain" will be felt if the slowdown in the number of sales translates into tumbling prices.

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The Sun features the imminent sale of what it says is one of the cheapest homes in the country.

The two-bedroom mid-terrace at Trimdon, in County Durham, is going for auction with a guide price of £10,000, though it needs some work.

The paper says a similar property in London would cost 64 times as much.

Elsewhere, the front page story in the i says there is a looming staff crisis in the NHS in England. An investigation by the paper suggests government plans to recruit more GPs are struggling to keep pace with retirement, while figures show nurse recruitment levels have fallen.


Donald Trump continues to be a rich source of copy.

The Financial Times says it is clear that, however "finely tuned" Mr Trump's administration may be, it is "leaking prodigiously".

The paper believes it will be hard for the president to "plug the leaks" of the sort that cost the job of his short-lived national security adviser, Mike Flynn.

However, the FT argues that Mr Trump made himself "fair game" on the campaign trail, by celebrating the publication of thousands of Hillary Clinton's hacked emails.


Finally, the Daily Mail has details of a study that suggests parents should let children play with their food.

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Researchers at De Montfort University in Leicester found that youngsters who were allowed to touch, handle and even squash their fruit and veg were more inclined to snack on them later.

The scientists think touch and feel - rather than taste - may be the catalyst to healthier eating.