Newspaper review: New Labour rows revived


Goings-on at the heart of the last Labour government are explored in the papers, just days before the party's annual conference begins.

The Daily Mail leads with highlights from its serialisation of the memoirs of former party spin doctor Damian McBride, under the headline "Poison at the heart of Labour".

It says it is an "explosive" book in which Mr McBride confesses to helping Gordon Brown drive his leading rivals out of the cabinet by using the dark arts of media manipulation.

It claims the book will embarrass party leader Ed Miliband and shadow chancellor Ed Balls, who were Mr Brown's closest allies.

Meanwhile, emails showing how Tony Blair's aides sought to counter what they viewed as then chancellor Gordon Brown's coup to secure power at Number 10 have been published in the Guardian.

The source of the messages is Ben Wegg-Prosser, former director of strategic communications in Number 10.

According to the Guardian, they show how figures from Number 10 and Labour attempted to deal with increasing pressure for clarity on Mr Blair's future.

'Battling back'

The Daily Express and the Daily Mirror both lead with the claim, revealed in a Lisbon court, that Kate McCann contemplated suicide after a Portuguese police chief wrongly accused her of covering up the death of her daughter, Madeleine.

Mrs McCann and her husband, Gerry, whose daughter has been missing since May 2007, have launched a libel case against the former detective.

The move to ban smoking in prisons in England and Wales is the lead for the Times.

The paper says the proposal has the potential to destabilise jails, where being able to enjoy a cigarette helps prisoners through the boredom of their sentences.

Red squirrels are finally battling back in the war against their grey rivals, as the Daily Express puts it.

Their numbers in England are rising for the first time in 140 years, boosted by improvements to their woodland habitats.

The Daily Telegraph reports that a three-month study in 300 woodlands in the north of England showed that the number of red squirrels rose by 7% compared with the number in spring last year.

Web risks

According to the lead in the Daily Telegraph, banks and credit card companies will block payments to websites that fail to stop children accessing pornography, as part of a government plan to help clean up the internet.

The Independent focuses on the warning that thousands of British children have been targeted by internet blackmailers.

Child protection experts say many have been forced to use webcams to film themselves performing sex acts or self-mutilation.

The story is also covered in the Daily Mirror with the paper's leader maintaining that internet companies "have a responsibility to seek and block disgusting specimens lurking on the web".

75,000 down

The Sun is fuming about the plan to move the 2022 World Cup to the winter because of the intense summer heat in the host country, Qatar.

It complains about the Premier League season being "wrecked" and says it seemed obvious when Qatar was handed the World Cup that summer could be dangerous to players.

But the Guardian looks on the bright side of a winter World Cup. It thinks UK teams might stand a better chance of winning and the Christmas TV schedules will be less tedious.

Finally, the Daily Telegraph's crossword veteran has broken a record.

Roger Squires, who sets the paper's crossword every Monday, has made it into the Guinness World Records after completing nearly 75,000 of the puzzles across 115 publications in 32 countries.

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