Newspaper headlines: Spy daughter's recovery and GKN deal

By BBC News

  • Published
Sergei Skripal and his daughter YuliaImage source, EPA/ Yulia Skripal/Facebook
Image caption,
The latest on the case of Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, featured in Friday's papers

The takeover of the British engineering firm GKN is covered by a number of papers.

The Guardian reports Melrose Industries has been described as an "asset-stripper", which managed to acquire GKN after a lengthy and acrimonious corporate tussle. It adds there are now calls for the government to halt the £8.1bn deal on national security grounds. The headline in the Daily Mail is "An Abuse of Capitalism", with the paper reporting that "city predators and hedge funds" stand to gain from the deal.

The condition of Yulia Skripal, the daughter of Russian former spy Sergei Skripal, is the top story for the i newspaper, which reports she is "conscious and talking". She has been in a critical condition since the poisoning on 4 March and her father remains critically ill in hospital. The Mirror also reports on the story and asks whether Ms Skripal will now be able to assist the police in their investigation.

Also in Friday's newspapers is another story related to Russia, following the expulsion of US diplomats from Moscow. The Daily Mirror reports that the UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, has called for greater communication between Russia and the West, warning that Russia-US relations are deteriorating towards a Cold War situation. The Times describes the US and Russian action as the biggest tit-for-tat round of expulsions between the two countries since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Image caption,
Kay stars alongside Sian Gibson in Car Share

Both the Daily Express and Daily Star feature pictures of the comedian Peter Kay on their front pages. The Star says he's broken his silence for the first time since cancelling a major tour to announce a charity fundraiser to help find a cure for a rare genetic disease.

The Daily Telegraph reports that 63 violent criminals including murderers and rapists were cleared for release from high security prisons straight back into society last year. The newspaper says the revelation escalates the row about John Worboys' release after the High Court quashed the Parole Board's decision. According to the Daily Mirror's report, the Justice Secretary, David Gauke, is fighting to save his job over the Worboys case.

Meanwhile, an investigation by the Times has found that tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers' money has been spent on public consultations that have resulted in nothing. It claims ministers have commissioned more than 1,600 consultations since the 2015 general election but almost a third haven't been completed. The paper points out that consultations can cost around £40,000 pounds, prompting accusations that ministers are spending up to £20m a year. A Cabinet Office spokesman tells the Times that consultations are an essential tool for developing policy.

The continuing fallout from the cricket ball tampering scandal features on both the front and back pages. The Guardian says Australia is facing an "outpouring of tears, resignations and national soul searching" while the back page headline in the Daily Mail is "Captain Cry Baby" next to a picture of a tearful Steve Smith.

The Sun says doctors are to be banned from issuing prescriptions for treatments available cheaply at chemists. The paper reports that there'll be a block on handing out medications for common conditions including colds, constipation and dandruff - which will save the NHS nearly £100m a year.

And the Times features a report that the Pope has said that hell does not exist. Francis is said to have made the comments in an interview with an Italian newspaper columnist, stating that unrepentant sinners were not punished in the afterlife, but simply disappeared.