Newspaper headlines: 'Sleazy access' in lobbying row and 'thirst in the queue'

By BBC News
Staff

Published
image copyrightGetty Images
image captionSome papers have criticised former Prime Minister David Cameron for "brazen lobbying"

The controversy over David Cameron's lobbying on behalf of the finance firm Greensill Capital continues to occupy many of the front pages.

The Times, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Telegraph print the same photograph on their front pages - showing Mr Cameron and Lex Greensill sipping drinks together while sitting cross-legged around an open fire during a trip to Saudi Arabia last year.

The Times says Mr Cameron accompanied Mr Greensill as he tried to set up a Riyadh office, including attending a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which took place after the de facto Saudi ruler was implicated in the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Daily Telegraph says the emergence of the image has led activists to question Mr Cameron's assertion that he used the visit to raise the issue of human rights - with Amnesty International among those questioning his claim.

"Sleazy access" is the headline on the front of the Daily Mirror, which says Mr Cameron's "brazen lobbying" has plunged the Tories into their worst scandal in a decade.

The Daily Mail reports that Boris Johnson is understood to be "concerned" about revelations that one of Mr Cameron's former top officials began working as an adviser to Greensill Capital while he was still a civil servant.

The paper describes the arrangement, which was approved by the Cabinet Office, as "extraordinary" and "highly unusual".

"It looks a bit fishy, Rishi" is the headline in Metro, which says Labour has accused the chancellor of "running scared" for failing to answer Commons questions over texts sent to him by Mr Cameron on behalf of Mr Greensill.

The Guardian's sketch writer John Crace says it was left to "the hapless" junior business minister Paul Scully to "take the flak" when Labour asked an urgent question about the issue.

The Daily Telegraph's Michael Deacon says Mr Sully proved to be "the perfect man for the job", being "calm, on top of his brief and, most important of all, exceptionally dull - making it impossible for the opposition to get a rise out of him".

The Times reports that President Biden's decision to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan means almost all remaining British troops will also be pulled out.

The paper says sources have made clear that the 700 or so British soldiers stationed in the country would struggle without the US bases and infrastructure upon which they rely.

It reports that plans have already been made to hand the training centre known as "Sandhurst in the Sand" to the control of the Afghan army.

Some of the papers seem perplexed, if not frustrated, by Boris Johnson's insistence yesterday that the lockdown, rather than the vaccine programme, is mostly responsible for falling Covid infections.

"Clearly this cannot be true," writes the Daily Telegraph's science editor Sarah Knapton, who says there is a growing amount of data suggesting death rates and hospitalisations are even lower than official figures suggest.

In its editorial, the paper urges Mr Johnson to follow the lead of Nicola Sturgeon, who this week moved forward some of her dates for lockdown easing.

HuffPost UK says Mr Johnson's messaging struck many as "odd", but notes it could underscore the increasingly strong influence in Number 10 of England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and the Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, who have both urged caution.

The Times warns against rushing to ease the restrictions, pointing out that Chile was forced into a lockdown even though a third of its population had been vaccinated. "Caution, now more than ever, is the only responsible course for a government that has learned from early mistakes," it concludes.

image copyrightReuters
image captionWith 14 million people booking places in pub gardens, some have no spaces available until May

The Sun prints an image of a tempting pint of beer on its front page, under the headline: "Brits' Booze Stampede". The paper says 14 million of us have made reservations for pub beer gardens, with many venues already booked up until May.

It prints a snapshot of pubs across England who have no free tables for weeks ahead, including a cocktail bar in Manchester which is fully booked for 10 consecutive weekends from May.

One London punter explains that he's been unable to find anywhere to have a drink, having called around 20 pubs, which all said they were full.

The Queen is to spend more time at Windsor Castle in her widowhood, according to the Daily Express.

The paper says she's told sources she's "most comfortable" living there and that Buckingham Palace is more likely to be used as an office than a home.

The Daily Telegraph reports that she faces the prospect of sitting on her own during the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral, because of coronavirus rules.

The paper reports that she is not eligible to be in a support bubble, because of the 20 staff who have been living with her at Windsor through the pandemic.

image copyrightMarie Woods
image captionArchaeologist Marie Woods discovered the footprint of a dinosaur which may have been up to nine metres long

Several papers report on the startling discovery of a 175 million-year-old dinosaur footprint on a beach in Yorkshire.

The i says the county's largest fossil footprint was discovered by an archaeologist who was out collecting shellfish for her dinner.

The Daily Mail says the print is likely to have belonged to the meat-eating 20-foot tall Megalosaurus - but suggests, given its location, it should perhaps more aptly be named the "By eck-asaurus".

And the Sun is among the papers reporting on the good luck of a grandad from Derbyshire, who won more than £100,000 on the National Lottery - because he forgot to take his glasses with him to buy his ticket.

Eighty-year-old Dennis Fawcett has always picked the same numbers for his EuroMillions ticket, but had to opt for a Lucky Dip when he realised he couldn't see clearly enough to make his usual selections. According to the Daily Mirror, he "just got looky".