Savile claims and royal 'job-share' - newspaper review

Among a diverse array of front page stories, the Observer's claims about Jimmy Savile and the BBC are among the most eye-catching.

Ahead of the publication of a review into the scandal, the paper says it will reveal that up to 1,000 boys and girls may have been abused on corporation property. The BBC has said it will not comment.

The Sunday Times leads with news that the Queen and Prince Charles are in the process of adopting "an effective 'job-share'" in order to lighten the former's load and prepare the latter for being king.

The Mail on Sunday, meanwhile, says the prime minister has plans for a major crackdown on the availability of benefits to people who cannot speak English.

Discussing the Mail on Sunday's lead for the BBC News Channel paper review, Eleanor Mills, editorial director of the Sunday Times, said: "This is definitely Cameron playing to the right of his party. People who might be tempted to go off to UKIP... [it's] a reaction to things like Benefits Street... I think this is real populist politics."

The Independent's Yasmin Alibhai-Brown added: "It's dog-whistle politics.

"What they don't understand is they will win some votes... but when Asians read this, and Arabs read this, who are British citizens, they are not going to vote for this party."

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Image caption According to a ComRes poll reported in the Sun, Nigel Farage has been voted "the country's second most popular party leader". It says he is "breathing down David Cameron's neck, after pushing Ed Miliband into third place".

Rennard row

The ongoing dispute within the Liberal Democrats over the future of Lord Rennard is discussed in many papers.

The Sunday Telegraph says "this is the time for Mr Clegg to show that he is in control of his own party". Simply demanding an apology "smacks of indecisiveness", it says, asking: "If Mr Clegg really thinks the peer has something to say sorry for, why does he not immediately set aside his party's rules and move to expel him?"

The Independent on Sunday is critical of the way the Webster investigation was carried out into Lord Rennard's conduct. The full report has not been published or shown to any of the parties involved. "It means that a party that became so exercised about secret courts seems to be conducting its own affairs with less than full transparency," the paper's leader argues.

Rod Liddle, writing in the Sunday Times, says the women who accused Rennard "have accused the party of a whitewash, despite the fact that Webster's verdict was the last thing Clegg or the party wanted". He adds: "They wanted Rennard nailed because they knew this was the only way everyone would shut up about it."

Lord Carlile, friend and legal representative of Lord Rennard, tells the Mail on Sunday the peer has been "made ill by the party's unjust and arbitrary conduct of the case". He goes on: "It has been said that Chris should apologise. But how can he apologise for that which he denies. A false apology would be dishonest, the kind of thing a Liberal should abhor."

'Colourful fixer'

The death of Conservative peer Lord McAlpine at the age of 71 is widely reported. The Sunday Mirror describes him as "Thatcher's right-hand man", noting that he raised tens of millions of pounds for his party.

Lord McAlpine hit the headlines in 2012 when he was wrongly accused of being involved in child abuse, but despite having his name cleared, the incident remains prominent in the reports of his death.

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Image caption Lord McAlpine and Margaret Thatcher in 1975 - he was one of her most devoted servants

The Sun on Sunday's headline describes him as "paedo smears peer", while the story itself says friends have spoken of "how, in his final months, he had been 'deeply upset' by the false rumours".

The Mail on Sunday says "his final years were overshadowed" by the error, but it also looks back on his life. "He was famed for throwing 'champagne and lobster' parties, hosted in his trademark corduroy suits," it says, and was a "property developer, author, zookeeper and explorer" as well as politician.

He was "one of the most colourful political fixers of the Thatcher era, using the spectre of a socialist government to raise millions", says the Sunday Times. "A passionate collector, not just of art but also dinosaur eggs, police truncheons and erotic photography," he survived two IRA attempts on his life.

"Charitable, tireless, convivial, he represented a generation of Tories who took obvious pleasure in helping their country," says the Sunday Telegraph's leader in a warm tribute.

Benefits Street

The debate about controversial Channel 4 programme Benefits Street continues unabated in Sunday's papers.

The Sun on Sunday and Sunday Mirror focus on particular individuals from the show. The latter speaks to mum-of-two Christine Smith, who admits her life "hasn't been a bed of roses", but says the show's producers put her in touch with children's organisation Sure Start whom she describes as "like our fairy godmothers". She adds: "Taking part in Benefits Street has shown me I can change my life."

The Sunday Mirror speaks to some shocked residents of James Turner Street who say they are nothing like the image the programme suggests. "Like the rest of the UK, people here have been hit by unemployment and cuts. Many do claim benefits - but legitimately," the paper writes. One example it cites is mum-of-three Catherine Johnson who receives several benefits but is studying to be a midwife.

Catherine Bennett, in the Observer, takes a different angle on the story, criticising "the fact this wholly unemployed cast was made by its Channel 4 gangmasters to work for nothing". She goes on: "Everyone - from politicians and programme makers to five million viewers and countless columnists - seems to have extracted something of value from Benefits Street, apart from the people who live there."

The Royal 'we'

Dissecting news that the Prince of Wales is to take over more of the Queen's duties, the Sunday Times thinks he "still has to overcome a reputation, sometimes justified, for eccentricity", while the public want the Queen to carry on as "a symbol of continuity, a symbol of stability". But she is almost 90, and "we should expect rather less of her" from now on, it adds.

The Mail on Sunday focuses on news that the Queen and her son are to merge their press operations - "the clearest sign yet that Her Majesty is getting ready to pass the mantle on". "There is little doubting the significance of the move... or the ways in which it will increase Prince Charles' influence," the paper adds.

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Image caption At 16, Lewis Clarke has become the youngest person to trek to the South Pole

Syria peace talks

After it emerges that Syria's main political opposition group has agreed to attend the Geneva II peace talks, Patrick Cockburn, writing in the Independent on Sunday, is cautiously optimistic.

"Making peace in Syria is so difficult because of the sheer number of players with conflicting interests, but a change for the better is that far fewer of those players now expect to win a clear victory, or fear suffering a calamitous defeat," he argues. The US and its European allies are now "more interested in containing the conflict than getting rid of Assad", while Iran and Hezbollah "no longer fear his overthrow".

"Whatever the outcome of this week's Syrian peace conference, it is likely to be seen as a breakthrough for Russian diplomacy," writes Uzi Mahnaimi, in the Sunday Times. "President Vladimir Putin appears to have outmanoeuvred America and Western Europe and re-established Moscow' influence in the Middle East."

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