Paper review: Focus still on Lawrence claims


Tuesday's newspapers continue to focus on allegations that Scotland Yard tried to "smear" the family of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

The Guardian, which broke the story with Channel 4 News, makes fresh claims on its front page.

The paper says it has evidence that Scotland Yard spied on critics of police corruption.

It claims undercover officers were sent into activist groups that led campaigns following deaths and injuries in custody, and another that represented victims of police harassment and racism.

Mick Creedon, the chief constable of Derbyshire Police, who is leading an inquiry into the Met's undercover work, tells the newspaper that dozens of officers could be prosecuted for stealing the identities of dead children and having sex with activists they were spying on.

Stephen's father, Neville, tells the Daily Mail he had always suspected that his family were "under greater investigation" than the gang that killed his son in a racist murder in south-east London in 1993.

'Another betrayal'

"Yet another betrayal", declares the paper.

It says the way that the Met Police handled the murder "plumbed depths of iniquity, hitherto unimagined".

The Daily Mirror commends Neville Lawrence, saying that he has made an "irresistible case" for a judge-led public inquiry into the allegations.

The Sun agrees. The paper says that the decision by Home Secretary Theresa May to widen two current investigations will only end up with the claims being dismissed in a footnote, and that anyone involved must testify under oath.

'More urgency'

The Daily Telegraph and the Mail report that Conservative Treasury minister David Gauke has given a "firm commitment" to Tory MPs that David Cameron will fulfil his pledge to recognise marriage in the tax system.

The Conservative election manifesto in 2010 promised some spouses who did not work that they could transfer part of their tax free allowance to their partner - a break worth up to £750, which the Mail understands will be "delivered" by 2015.

The Telegraph says Tories at Westminster are angry about the lack of support for traditional families and the MP, Tim Loughton, tells the paper there needs to be more urgency on delivering the commitment.

"There is only a certain amount of promises about 'in due course' that hard-working families can take," he says.

'Disappearing act'

There is continued speculation about the whereabouts of Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who exposed the massive US surveillance programme and is said to be trying to reach Latin America.

He had been expected to fly out of Russia on Monday.

But, under the headline "Snowhere to be seen", the Sun says he kept US authorities guessing by not boarding a flight to Cuba, sparking fears, according to the paper, that he has been intercepted by Russian spies.

The Guardian reports that about two dozen journalists settled in for the 12-hour flight to Havana, only to find that Mr Snowden was not on board.

For the Independent, he has performed an "impressive disappearing act".

Pricey loo

Closer to home, a former councillor in Billericay in Essex has turned whistleblower and tells the Telegraph that his local authority is spending £20,000 a year maintaining an automatic public convenience, which he believes works out as £5.79 every time someone uses it.

Terence Gandy claims it is the most expensive lavatory in the UK which is used, on average, by just nine people a day.

But the council says that the people of Billericay overwhelmingly want the convenience.

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