Newspaper review: Papers focus on Lib Dem fortunes


With the political focus on the Liberal Democrats, the Independent leads on a poll that suggests unease about the direction of the party - from both current and former supporters.

It quotes a YouGov survey which suggests 36% of current Lib Dem supporters think the party has changed for the worse since the 2010 election - with only 20% thinking it has got better.

Of those who voted Lib Dem in 2010, 59% think the party has got worse.

The paper says the results show leader Nick Clegg has a mountain to climb as he tries to win back former supporters who have deserted the party since it entered government.

In an editorial, the Times says the Liberal Democrats should resist the urge to flirt with potential coalition partners.

It says that while many left-leaning Lib Dems will be tempted to "flutter their eyelashes" at Labour, the party should instead focus on trying to persuade the public that they have been part of a successful government.

It warns that campaigning for a hung parliament is besides the point as the verdict on the composition of the next Parliament will be reached by the electorate - not Lib Dem activists.

Easing of tensions

The Guardian reports on the revelation that there has been an exchange of letters between US President Obama and the new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani.

It says the move paves the way for an historic meeting between the two men at the United Nations next week - which would be the first face-to-face encounter between a US and an Iranian leader since Iran's 1979 revolution.

It also comments that an easing of tensions between the two countries could lead to a diplomatic solution to the 11 year stand-off over Iran's nuclear programme.

The Daily Mail leads on figures that suggest one in seven murders in Britain is committed by suspects freed on bail while awaiting trial for other crimes.

It says that in 2012, 56 murders were carried out by people bailed by the courts - a rise of 37% on 2011. It describes the figures, from the Ministry of Justice, as "disturbing" and "shocking".

Booker prize

The Daily Telegraph reports on turbulence at the heart of government on the issue of wind turbines.

It claims the energy department tried to derail a series of planning reforms designed to allow local residents to block wind farms.

The Telegraph says officials at the department, run by Liberal Democrat Ed Davey, intervened to try to prevent Communities Secretary Eric Pickles altering planning guidance.

It describes the disclosures as evidence of the scale of the split in the coalition on the issue of on-shore wind and renewable energy.

The Independent picks up on reports that the Man Booker Prize is to allow American writers to compete for the first time.

It says authors are worried the move could dilute the "character" of the competition.

The Daily Telegraph says organisers want to raise the international profile of the prize.

The paper notes that until now the prestigious literary prize has only considered works by writers from Britain, Ireland and the countries of the Commonwealth.

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