Newspaper headlines: Tom Watson's 'shock' resignation

By BBC News

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Tom Watson, far right, announced on Wednesday he was leaving his post

Many newspapers lead on Tom Watson's announcement that he is stepping down as Labour's deputy leader and not standing in next month's election.

The Daily Mail calls it a "calamity" for the party and an embarrassing start to Jeremy Corbyn's campaign.

It says Mr Watson had been left isolated after three years of infighting and, sources tell the paper, he had simply had enough.

The Times notes his repeated clashes with Mr Corbyn - over Brexit and anti-Semitism - and the intense criticism he has faced over his role in promoting false claims of a VIP paedophile ring.

The Daily Telegraph describes Tom Watson's decision to step down as Labour's deputy leader as a major scalp for the pro-Corbyn wing, as it fights for control by purging moderate MPs.

It says other centrists could now resign, in a co-ordinated move to undermine Jeremy Corbyn's election chances.

The Guardian says that with his deputy's departure, Mr Corbyn has "strengthened his grip" on Labour.

The paper believes some MPs will feel Mr Corbyn's project to reshape the party is now complete.

The Daily Mirror leads on Labour's promise to invest £150bn in regions the paper says have been left "on their knees" by Conservative cuts.

The Mirror highlights the proposed creation of a new Treasury unit in the north of England, which it says will spend much-needed cash on schools, hospitals, council homes and social care.

It's the main story for the Financial Times - which says the amount being pledged is a big increase on previous commitments by Labour.

The FT heralds the start of a spending battle with the Conservatives. But, citing polls, the paper says it is less of a central issue for voters than in previous contests.

The i paper says the resignation of Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns yesterday capped 48 hours of turmoil for the Conservative Party.

It says Boris Johnson is now under mounting pressure to prevent Mr Cairns from standing in the Vale of Glamorgan seat, after he was accused of lying about his knowledge of a former aide's role in the collapse of a rape trial. Mr Cairns has denied any wrongdoing.

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Mr Cairns has worked under three prime ministers after being appointed in 2016.

The Times' leader column says Mr Cairns' resignation, and the comments about the Grenfell Tower fire by Jacob Rees-Mogg, show the Conservatives to be unprepared for a contest they themselves have been seeking.

The paper calls on Boris Johnson to take control and sort out the mess urgently.

Quentin Letts of the Times is among the sketch writers to pick up on transatlantic tones at the Conservative campaign launch in the West Midlands last night.

With deafening guitar music, red, white and blue banners and a casual dress code, he says "we could have been at a mid-west presidential primary".

Image source, Reuters
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Mr Johnson was surrounded by Conservative Party supporters holding signs

Henry Deedes in the Daily Mail agrees and says a turbo-charged speech from a very animated Boris Johnson shows he is the Conservatives' strongest electoral asset by a mile.

But the Guardian's John Crace says Boris Johnson was speaking piffle and waffle -- trying to charm his audience with a few gags after a disastrous few days for the party.

Workers 'pull less sickies'

A number of the papers including the Times pick up on a study suggesting that the "sickie" could be on its way out.

Official figures reportedly show that absence rates among otherwise healthy employees are at their lowest since records began - about 4.4 days per worker last year.

Experts tell the Times that despite well-worn tropes about snowflake millennials, the overall workforce is more committed to getting into the office, since they joined its ranks.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror reports on a massive security operation that was sparked yesterday at one of Europe's busiest airports, Amsterdam Schiphol.

A police special operations team was scrambled, parts of the airport were sealed off and - according to Guardian - the Dutch prime minister warned a party meeting the situation may call him away.

But it turned out to be a false alarm, the Mirror says, caused by a pilot pressing a "hijack alert" button on board a plane, while showing an intern the ropes.

Image source, Reuters
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Passengers faced disruption as parts of the Dutch airport were closed

The Sun reports on how a hunt for a lost wedding ring instead turned up a stash of gold Tudor coins, worth more than £100,000.

A metal detectorist in Ballycastle in Northern Ireland had apparently agreed to help out a friend, but found only a horseshoe and a five pence coin, the paper says, literally striking gold.

One of the coins alone is said to be a rare specimen from Henry VIII's time, worth more than £5,000. But, the Sun notes, they never did find the ring.

Several papers report on a mishap at the Piccadilly Theatre in London's West End last night when a section of the plaster ceiling fell onto the audience.

The Daily Telegraph says the incident, during a performance of the Arthur Miller play Death of a Salesman, will raise questions about the safety of London's older theatres.

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Rescue units were sent to the theatre by London Fire Brigade after the collapse

And the Daily Telegraph is among the papers to debunk a popular myth -- that a few indoor house plants can soak up pollutants, purifying the air.

The paper says the notion dates back to a scientific paper published by Nasa in the 1980s.

But, the Telegraph explains, the scientists were primarily concerned with keeping the air fresh for astronauts in sealed spaces. New analysis says that in fact, a homeowner would need as many as three hundred plants per square foot, to gain any benefit greater than just opening a few windows.