Newspaper review: Papers debate gay marriage vote

Sunday newspapers

The question for many - in the words of James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday - is how many Conservatives will "jilt" David Cameron at the "altar", in the free vote on gay marriage on Tuesday.

Few votes have set Tory MP against Tory MP as bitterly as this one, he says.

The Sunday Telegraph in its lead story says about 180 Conservative MPs, including six whips and up to four cabinet members, are ready to defy the prime minister.

The Sunday Mirror says Mr Cameron's allies fear it will be the biggest Tory rebellion in modern times.

Progressive mindset

According to the Sunday People, many Tory MPs are frightened of the reaction from constituents if they back gay marriage.

The issue also divides Conservative leaning papers.

The Sun says it is absurd that, with so much on his plate, Mr Cameron is turning a minor issue into a defining moment for his government.

But the Mail on Sunday believes the increasingly progressive mindset of young voters points to gay marriage becoming law sooner or later, whatever happens this week.

And, it adds, it is understandable the prime minister would prefer to be in the vanguard of social reform.

Hidden cost

The proposed HS2 high-speed rail link is another topic of anger for some.

The Independent on Sunday's main story examines what it calls the hidden cost of the railway to wildlife.

It says the line threatens more than 350 wildlife sites, including nature reserves, ancient woodlands and wetlands.

"Is this really progress?" it asks.

Carole Malone, writing in the Sunday Mirror, says those affected by HS2 will be ordinary people who have worked their whole life to buy a house only to discover that when the line goes ahead, they will never be able to sell it.

Not reasonable

According to the Mail on Sunday's lead, the government is planning an end to Britain's "holiday camp" jails.

There is to be a ban on satellite TV, fewer televisions, more prison uniforms, less pocket money for inmates and gay couples are to be forbidden from sharing cells.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling tells the paper it is not reasonable for prisoners to enjoy things that people outside on low incomes would struggle to have.

"I want prisons to be a place people don't have a particular desire to come back to," he says.

The Observer reports that Britain is embroiled in a diplomatic row with Romania over plans to limit the flow of immigrants when existing controls lapse at the end of the year.

New rain

The paper has been told by Romania's foreign minister that talk of extending restrictions had caused "serious concerns".

Finally, we've had the "wrong type of snow" as an excuse for train disruption.

Now prepare for a "new kind of rain" to explain the recent severe flooding.

Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith tells the Sunday Telegraph that instead of rain sweeping in a curtain across the country, we are getting "convective" rain.

This sits in one place and just dumps itself in a deluge over a long period of time.

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