Newspaper headlines: 'Lawless Britain' and a 'cosy cover-up'

Police car Image copyright Getty Images

The latest crime figures for England and Wales, showing big rises for knife attacks, robbery and homicides, are widely reported and make the lead for the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Express.

The Express describes the figures as a runaway crime wave. Its headline: "Lawless Britain". For the Daily Mail, they reveal the bleak truth about "Wild West Britain".

Some of the papers challenge the Conservatives' claim to be the party of law and order.

In the Telegraph's view, no government can preside over rising levels of serious crime and fail to be punished by the electorate - and the figures "should sound the alarm bells".

The Mail accepts that police budgets have been cut, but says a more likely explanation for the rise is that criminals are emboldened by the abject failure of forces to bring them to heel.

The Express says every crime, no matter how trivial, must be investigated. Wrongdoers should know that they will be punished and tracked down, it adds.

For the Sun, cash is not the only answer.

It says many forces are "appallingly led" and "obsessed with their image" - with investigations "driven by political correctness - all while ignoring the basics of keeping the public and their property safe".

The Telegraph says the figures coincide with a call by Justice Secretary David Gauke for prison to "change the lives" of criminals instead of being used solely as a tool for "punishment".

In an interview for the paper, he says inmates should be given "hope" to help rehabilitate them and stop the cycle of re-offending.

The Mail's lead is a vote by MPs to grant themselves anonymity in cases where they are accused of sexual harassment or expenses fraud.

"What a cosy cover-up!" is the headline.

Its leader column complains that after the expenses scandal of 2009, MPs on all sides promised there would be a new spirit of openness about misdemeanours of all kinds.

Yesterday, the paper declares, that promise was "left in tatters".

According to the Times' main story, Theresa May is to put the country on a no-deal Brexit footing this summer as she prepares a series of public warnings about the impact of leaving the EU without an agreement.

It says consumers and companies will be given detailed advice on a weekly basis on how to prepare for "a disorderly Brexit".

As part of the campaign, it adds, up to 250,000 small businesses will be asked to start preparing to make customs declarations for the first time.

The European Commission's call on countries across the EU to step up preparations for a no-deal Brexit is widely reflected upon, but a number of papers think the risk of chaos is being overstated.

The Financial Times says senior EU officials accept that EU governments will not blindly enforce laws that threaten financial stability, ground all air traffic or halt production at car factories as would in theory happen if no deals were made.

Simon Jenkins in the Guardian agrees. Nothing will change, he predicts - orders will go out to keep moving and await further instructions.

For its lead, the Sun reports a threat by the Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, to ban British planes from flying over the Republic if the UK cuts access to its waters for his country's fishermen after Brexit.

But the paper says the move would spectacularly backfire if Britain chose to retaliate because hundreds of thousands of Irish flights cross the UK every year.

The Mail - which also has the story - dismisses the threat. "Who does he think he's kidding?", it asks.

The Tory chief whip, Julian Smith, gets a strong rebuke from the Conservative Home website following the row over a "pairing" arrangement in one of the close Brexit votes this week.

He has apologised after the party chairman, Brandon Lewis, broke an agreement to abstain because he had been "paired" with the Liberal Democrat deputy leader, Jo Swinson, who's on maternity leave.

Image copyright Graham Eva

Conservative Home says the chief whip must command the trust and respect of both his own MPs and his opposite numbers - and at this point, "that looks a tall order."

It says Mr Smith now "lacks credibility".

Will Julian Smith survive as Tory chief whip? the Spectator website asks.

It says the problem Mr Smith faces is that this is a Brexit story with "a human interest element and the optics are just awful: He's accused of deceiving a new mother in order to advance his party's Brexit plans."

Buzzfeed News says there is no formal maternity leave for MPs, so this is the only way new mothers are able to make sure the vote is fair.

Finally, images of parched open spaces and landmarks in the Mirror - the result of the drought - contrast sharply with pictures in the Mail of the Georgian-walled garden at Hopton Hall in Derbyshire.

There, the 2,000 bushes are thriving in the heatwave and have exploded into an array of dazzling colours.

The paper explains that well-established roses do not require watering in hot, dry weather because they have taproots reaching down two or three feet to get all the moisture they need.

The garden's owner tells the paper the roses are the best they have ever been.

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