Newspaper headlines: Election debate sparks reaction

Times front page

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The Times reports that Theresa May will pitch herself as the unifying leader of a “great national mission” in a speech on Thursday. The paper says she will seek to “rise above accusations of political cowardice after her refusal to take part in a debate with the other party leaders” on Wednesday night.

Guardian front page

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The Guardian describes the debate as fractious, saying that Jeremy Corbyn challenged Amber Rudd over the impact of the government’s spending cuts. “The Labour leader took on the home secretary – standing in for Theresa May, who had refused to turn up – over the government’s economic record in a scrappy, 90-minute, seven-way BBC debate,” reports the paper.

I front page

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“Ambush,” exclaims the i. The paper says Ms Rudd was targeted by her rivals during the debate.

Mail front page

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The Daily Mail says the BBC has been accused by the New Statesman’s political editor George Eaton of picking “the most left-wing” election debate audience ever. Senior Tories reacted furiously after the supposedly “balanced” group jeered criticism of Mr Corbyn on the programme, the Mail adds.

Express front page

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The Daily Express says Mrs May has warned that Mr Corbyn is plotting “uncontrolled” immigration if he wins the election. Labour said the leaked paper which the story was based on was not a policy document.

Telegraph front page

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The Daily Telegraph leads with HMRC figures that suggest a record number of people are now paying the highest rate of income tax. “This is due to wage inflation sending incomes above the tax threshold of £150,000 a year and reductions in the pension tax relief available to high earners,” the paper explains.


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The Daily Mirror reports that a health chief has warned that Conservative cuts are leaving the NHS penniless. According to the Mirror, Dr Mark Porter said: “The money has run out. This is a disgraceful failure of our patients.”

Metro front page

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The Metro leads on the jailing for 15 years of breast surgeon Ian Paterson ,who carried out needless cancer operations. There are calls for a public inquiry after it emerged the NHS has paid almost £18m to about 800 of his patients, reports the Metro.

Financial Times front page

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The Financial Times says China and the EU have forged a green alliance to combat climate change and counteract any retreat from international action by Donald Trump. The paper calls it a stark realignment of forces.

Sun front page

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The Sun leads on a court case involving a former BBC radio presenter accused of child sex offences. Julie Wadsworth, 60, and her husband Tony deny assaulting seven boys in the 1990s.

Star front page

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The Daily Star claims a terrified mother was left paralysed with fear after coming face-to-face with a black panther as she walked through woods. Emma Adam, 29, tells the paper: “Now I’m scared to even leave the house.”

The BBC election debate features prominently in Thursday’s papers.

Theresa May’s stand-in, Amber Rudd, is pictured on the front pages of the i newspaper and the Daily Telegraph.

The i headline reads simply: “Ambush”, saying that the home secretary was targeted by her rivals.

The Guardian agrees, saying the debate was “largely open pack warfare” on Ms Rudd with the audience “cheering on”.

She is praised by the Times for being sturdy and commanding, while the Telegraph’s sketch writer Michael Deacon suggests she should take Mrs May’s place for the rest of the campaign.

The i believes the prime minister should buy her a large drink.

The Telegraph and the Times both point out that Ms Rudd agreed to take part just 48 hours after the death of her father.

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Jeff Overs/BBC/PA

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Seven parties took part in the televised debate

For the Daily Mirror, though, Mrs May’s absence from the debate was an “arrogant miscalculation by a panicking prime minister”.

The paper’s editorial wonders if she wishes she had resisted the temptation to call a snap election.

The Times highlights the latest YouGov poll which shows the Conservative lead over Labour falling to just three points, with Labour – at 39% – enjoying their highest rating since February 2014.

The paper says YouGov’s results are at odds with other major pollsters, who have the Tory lead ranging from six points to 15 points.

The Daily Mail says a key Tory strategist has challenged YouGov bosses to a charity bet over their predictions.

YouGov says its findings are the result of the “most sophisticated analysis ever deployed”.

The Telegraph leads on taxation, highlighting figures showing a record number of people are now paying the highest rate of income tax.

The paper says thousands have been “dragged” into what it calls an “unfair bracket” by wage inflation and cuts to pension relief.

According to HMRC, 340,000 people will pay income tax at 45%.

The Times reports that health commissioners in Oxfordshire want to encourage GPs to prescribe fewer medicines to the elderly by allowing them to share in any savings achieved by cutting prescriptions.

Joyce Robins, of campaign group Patient Concern, tells the paper that the plan amounts to a “bribe”.

The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said the aim was to encourage practices to audit and review their prescribing, and promised that safeguards would be put in place.

The Guardian reports that authorities in Florence, fed up with tourists eating food while sprawled on the steps of Renaissance churches, have come up with a radical deterrent

They are using waterhoses to make surfaces too wet to sit on.

The Telegraph quotes the Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, as saying the city is “not a place for impromptu picnics”.

“When I went to Istanbul I didn’t sit down in front of the Blue Mosque with a mortadella sandwich and a coke,” he says.

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