Newspaper headlines: 'Hammond egg on his face'

By BBC News

Image source, Reuters

The government's decision to abandon its planned rise in National Insurance contributions is the main story for many of the papers.

The Times says Theresa May made the chancellor pay the price of what it calls a botched tax rise, after it became clear it had no chance of being approved by Parliament.

The paper says she ordered him to abandon the measure during a meeting on Wednesday morning.

It adds that speculation has already begun that Philip Hammond will be dismissed in a summer reshuffle.

In an editorial, the Daily Mail says the U-turn has been a "humiliating fiasco" for the government.

The Mail says it is baffling that neither Philip Hammond, nor those around him, foresaw the trouble over breaking a manifesto pledge and betraying self-employed Tory voters.

It concludes that ministers should learn from the mistake, replace crass advisers, and not forget the strivers they promised to help.

The Guardian says a number of MPs believe the prime minister ordered the chancellor to drop the plans because of the damage being caused to the party's reputation.

It says a number of Tory loyalists have questioned why they spent a week defending the controversial policy only to see it dropped.

The Guardian adds that not all Conservatives are happy because it questions the party's authority to make decisions on tax and spending.

The Financial Times says the policy retreat came following a weekend in which Number 10 and Number 11 traded anonymous insults about why no one appeared to notice that the tax rise broke a manifesto promise.

The paper adds the reversal leaves in place the incentive for people to treat themselves as self-employed to exploit a National Insurance differential that costs the Treasury £5bn a year.

The Daily Mail says its readers should take the credit for the latest legal ruling in the case of Royal Marine Sgt Alexander Blackman whose murder conviction for killing a militant in Afghanistan has been overturned.

The Mail asserts that he was "left to rot in jail by top brass", and pays tribute to the readers who raised £800,000 for the legal challenge.

Image source, PA

The paper says Sgt Blackman, whom it describes as a "tortured hero", will now be re-sentenced.

It believes he should be freed immediately because of the three-and-a-half years he has already served.

The Sun continues to focus on Prince William's skiing holiday in Switzerland with a group of male friends.

The paper prints mobile phone pictures of the heir to the throne, describing how he was "cavorting on a club dance floor" with two young women.

It quotes witnesses as saying the prince was dancing wildly and looked the worse for wear.

The Sun says the pictures and video will prove to be highly embarrassing for the royal, as well as being likely to anger his wife.

Finally, the Guardian has more bad news for former South Korea president Park Geun-hye who was removed from office last week in a corruption scandal.

Image source, Reuters

The paper reports that she is being accused of abandonment by an animal rights charity - because she left nine dogs, including seven puppies, at the presidential palace.

It is understood she told staff to look after the dogs until they could be given away.