– Newspaper headlines: Ex-ambassador attacks Trump and policing with drones

March 20, 2017

Daily Mirror

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The Daily Mirror dedicates its front page to the famine crisis in Africa as it launches a campaign to help victims of Somalia’s drought. It tells its readers they can “help end this” by supporting the campaign.

Financial Times

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Theresa May is trying to prove she does not want to turn her back on the EU by negotiating a defence partnership with Germany post-Brexit, according to the Financial Times. The Ministry of Defence told the paper that it was working with the country on a “joint vision statement on future co-operation”.

The Guardian

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A former British ambassador in Washington has criticised Donald Trump over accusations that the UK was involved in tapping his phones ahead of the US election. Writing in the Guardian, Sir Peter Westmacott accuses the White House of “peddling falsehoods” about GCHQ and says it is a “dangerous game”. He demands an apology from the president.

The Times

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The Times leads with a crackdown by Theresa May on bosses who exploit self-employed workers. The paper says a review commissioned by the prime minister is expected to conclude that a growing number of companies are abusing the law by taking on self-employed people to carry out jobs previously held by salaried employees.


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“Labour’s admission of failure” is the headline of the i, as the paper interviews shadow chancellor John McDonnell. The MP admits the party has to convince voters about Labour’s economic plans, especially as some Conservatives are touting the idea of a snap general election.

Daily Telegraph

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The Daily Telegraph reports that a senior BBC executive is calling for his channels to get “top billing” in TV guides to curb the “real threat” posed by Sky, Amazon and Netflix. Writing in the paper, James Purnell, director of radio and education at the BBC, says: “This isn’t about forcing people to watch public service programmes… it is about making sure you can find them easily.” The issue will be debated by the House of Lords on Monday.

Daily Mail

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Police are looking at adopting full-time drone forces to chase criminals and hunt for missing people, according to the Daily Mail. The paper says 24-hour drone units could be used to make up for falling officer numbers. Devon and Cornwall Police are already advertising for a drone manager for its new dedicated division, whilst forces in Sussex and Surrey are considering the same move.

Daily Express

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The Daily Express claims that Chancellor Philip Hammond will target pensions to fill the “black hole” in the budget after his dramatic U-turn on national insurance increases last week. The paper understands that the Treasury is considering cuts to pension tax relief, which former Pensions Minister Baroness Altmann says will cause a voter backlash.

The Sun

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Former Top Gear star Richard Hammond has been knocked out whilst filming The Grand Tour, says the front of the Sun. The paper reports that the 47-year-old hit his head coming off a motorbike whilst filming in Africa.

Daily Star

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The Daily Star leads on “mystery” black marks under EastEnders’ actor Danny Dyer’s eye. The paper reports that fans spotted a “dark mark lurking beneath his shades” when he was filling up his car at a petrol station over the weekend.

A scathing attack on Donald Trump by the man who was the British ambassador in Washington until last year makes the lead for the Guardian.

Sir Peter Westmacott accuses the president of “peddling falsehoods” after his press secretary Sean Spicer claimed the British intelligence agency, GCHQ, had tapped Mr Trump’s phone.

He says Mr Trump’s refusal to correct the unsubstantiated allegations is “gratuitously damaging” the intelligence relationship between Britain and America.

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GCHQ has called the claims by Mr Trump’s press secretary “nonsense”.

Theresa May is preparing to crack down on bosses who use self-employed workers to avoid paying sickness, pension and maternity benefits, according to the lead in the Times.

It says a review commissioned by the prime minister is expected to conclude that a growing number of companies are taking on supposedly self-employed workers for jobs previously carried out by salaried staff.

The paper says that in response ministers are going to draw up stricter rules about what constitutes genuine self-employment.

Mrs May’s chancellor, Philip Hammond, is considering a drastic cut to pension tax relief to plug the black hole caused by the U-turn on national insurance, according to the Daily Express.

The paper suggests such a measure would be destructive, saying any tax regime that discourages people from saving for their retirement will create huge problems for the future.

Flying squads

In its lead, the Daily Mail says police are turning to unmanned aerial drones to pursue suspects as well as hunt for missing people.

Officers in Devon and Cornwall are launching the first 24-hour drone unit in the summer, and the Sussex and Surrey forces are now considering whether to follow suit.

Senior officers say these new flying squads would be cheaper than using helicopters and could also perform some of the duties of bobbies on the beat.

In an editorial, the paper warns the drones must not be used to reduce the number of officers on the street and it says their use raises privacy concerns.

“The state-funded eye in the sky swooping on our every move is the stuff of Orwellian nightmares,” it concludes.

The dailies take their opportunity to pay tribute to Chuck Berry, who died on Saturday.

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AFP/Getty Images

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Tributes poured in for Chuck Berry over the weekend, who died aged 90.

“Rock ‘n’ roll’s first guitar hero and poet” is how the Guardian sums him up as it reflects on the musician’s life.

The i says his influence was yesterday underlined by the “reverberating chords of praise” which came from artists ranging from The Rolling Stones to Bruce Springsteen.

He was also, in the Daily Mirror’s words, “a pioneer of the murkier side of rock”.

The Times notes that he demanded promoters pay him in suitcases full of cash before he took to the stage – a practice that subsequently led to a prison sentence for tax evasion.

And in concert he became infamous for checking his watch in mid-song as he wouldn’t perform for a minute longer than his contracted time. – All News First!

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