The headlines: Merkel 'kills the deal' and the GP cash bonanza

On a day of mixed headlines for our press, Britain's travails with the European Union take centre stage for many newspapers.

The Sunday Times leads on more European woe for David Cameron.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ms Merkel: It's a "nein" from her to modifying the EU's freedom of movement principle

The PM has said his impending negotiations with the EU will hinge around the issue of being able to restrict the ability of low-skilled economic migrants from within the community to come to the UK.

But the paper questions Germany's Angela Merkel over this "red line" issue for Mr Cameron, and she says she will oppose any tampering with the "fundamental principles of free movement in the EU".

In its leader column, the paper says it believes that - despite Mrs Merkel's dogmatism - EU leaders will cut Mr Cameron some slack in his bid to forge a reform deal with them.

But it says at present, "Europe's leaders appear to be going out of their way to make life tough for the prime minister and to act as a recruiting sergeant for UKIP".

One such "recruiter" is the issue of the £1.7bn bill presented to Britain by Brussels.

The Mail on Sunday says Conservative Chief Whip Michael Gove believes the demand, issued by departing EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, could be "deliberate sabotage" at a time the Conservatives are trying to hold on to their Rochester seat in the face of a challenge from UKIP.

Writing in the paper, James Forsyth says Mr Cameron will "channel the spirit" of Margaret Thatcher as he goes into battle to try to lessen and postpone the new bill.

"I understand that he is ready to push the button on the nuclear option of blocking the measures needed by the eurozone countries to stave off the coming crisis there unless this demand is dropped," Forsyth says.

Portugal's Mr Barroso is cast as the villain of the piece in numerous papers.

Charlie Catchpole in the Sunday People rather brutally calls him "an oily Eurocrat from the land of sardines", and "the outgoing president of that collection of unaccountable, interfering, overpaid paper-shufflers and time-servers, the European Commission".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Barosso - pictured without sardines

But it's not just the eurocrats that come under the spotlight, the Sun says ministers are to face a grilling from a powerful Commons committee to find out "why they did not know about the EU bill bombshell before it landed".

The Observer runs a poll which suggests that 31% of British voters would consider backing UKIP if they thought the party could win in their constituency.

However analysis from Mori pollster Ben Page claims this may not suggest that the UK is stampeding towards an EU exit.

"The British don't love Europe, and eurocrats are popular hate figures, but they tend to dislike extremists.

"The irony of UKIP's poll success will be if it ultimately pushes the majority of moderate Britons closer to Europe. Time will tell," he writes.

Big guns

For Ed Miliband, his political headache lies not across the channel, but north of the border, according to the Sunday papers.

The Sunday Telegraph says the resignation of Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont "has left the party in a state of crisis" which "could have a 'catastrophic' impact" on the Labour leader's chance of winning the next general election.

Winning Scottish seats is seen as crucial for Mr Miliband's prospect of forming a majority government in 2015, but the paper says senior Scottish Labour figures are furious with the national party.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ms Lamont and Mr Miliband: Not as close as they used to be

Former Scottish first minister Henry McLeish is quoted as saying, "Labour in Westminster, Labour in London, has not a clue about the realities of Scottish politics".

Ms Lamont says she stepped down after Scottish Labour's general secretary was replaced without her say-so.

"The Scottish Labour Party must be a more autonomous party which works in partnership with the UK party," she is quoted as saying.

The Telegraph's Alan Cochrane says Labour has been the architect of its own difficulties in Edinburgh thanks to a "disastrous policy of creating a Scottish Parliament, but then staffing it with second-rate politicians while its big guns stayed at Westminster".

The Observer says Ms Lamont's departure has triggered a Labour "civil war" between Miliband loyalists and those backing the departing Scottish leader's views.

It names the potential successors to the Scottish Labour job as Gordon Brown, Jim Murphy, MSP Kezia Dugdale and Glasgow MP Anas Sarwar - who will act as interim leader.

The Sunday Times says senior Labour figures think the party could lose 15 of its 41 Scottish MPs in 2015.

The paper's Scottish edition has an article by Mr McLeish who states, "The Scottish people seem to be further ahead in their constitutional thinking than Labour.

"This process of timidity and ambivalence may keep Westminster intact, but will eventually destroy the Union as Scotland is pushed further out on a limb until the branch breaks and Scotland is on its own."

Basic needs

In elections, the received wisdom is "it's all about the economy, stupid!"

With this in mind, a survey reported in many papers, and leading the Independent on Sunday, may make uneasy reading for the Coalition.

Headlining its report "millions face years on breadline", the paper says research by a think tank shows that five million Britons are "languishing" in low-paid jobs and "so poorly paid that they have little if anything left to spend after their basic needs have been met".

Image caption Employment is rising, but the wage level of the new jobs is under scrutiny

The Resolution Foundation's report found that the number of people earning £7.70 an hour or less had increased by 250,000 in a year.

The figure represents a "financial headache" for the government, according to Matthew Whittaker, the man behind the report, because allowing the number of poorly paid jobs to proliferate, "fails to boost the tax take and raises the benefits bill for working people".

Stephanie Flanders, writing in the Sunday Times, picks up the theme.

"One big reason the average wage figures look so weak is that many of the new jobs created in the past few years have been in parts of the economy where the pay tends to be lower.

"So there is some truth to the view that the jobs being created in this miracle recovery are not 'proper jobs'," she says.

One group seeing a decline in its spending power is female workers, the Independent on Sunday reports.

Median hourly wages for all workers have fallen slightly over the last year, the paper says, but women's wages have shrunk the most - by almost 2%.

And it's not just working age people, the Sunday Express says that Britain's pensioners are among the poorest in Europe, with a greater risk of living in poverty than their counterparts in Poland and Latvia.

Image caption Stephanie Flanders

The data, compiled by the International Longevity Centre, suggests 16.1% of those retired in the UK live in poverty.

An expert blames Britain's state pension level, "one of the lowest in the developed world".

One group seemingly not living in poverty, are locum GPs, who are the subject of the Mail on Sunday's lead story.

The paper says medical recruitment agencies are offering doctors up to £100,000 a year to work weekends only in areas such as Cornwall, Herefordshire and rural Kent.

The spiralling bill for locums comes at a time when the head of the NHS has said the service needs an extra £8bn annually by 2020 to survive, the paper notes.

Piled up chairs

Just when you thought it had gone away, it comes back - this time in southern England!

I refer of course to the nuptials of George and Amal Clooney.

Having tied the knot in Venice on September 29, the Hollywood star and his glamorous lawyer wife held their second wedding reception at a five-star hotel in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

The Sunday Express reports the "fairytale venue" of Danesfield House played host to 90 VIP guests, including many unable to attend the Clooney's four-day Italian marriage-fest.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Danesfield House - a Buckinghamshire palace, according to the Sunday Express

As at reception number one, staff at the English hotel "have been told to hand in their mobile phones to prevent them giving away secrets of the party", the paper adds.

Clearly phones or no phones, some details did leak, including pictures of (and the ingredients for) the exclusive "his and hers" cocktails that were used to toast the happy occasion.

The Daily Star Sunday, which gives you the recipes, says the whole bash cost £65,000.

The Sunday Telegraph, which notes the hotel was handily close to the celebrity pair's manorial home in Sonning, gives us an interesting nugget about Danesfield House.

"During the Second World War it was requisitioned by the RAF's reconnaissance unit.

"It was here that members of the RAF's Hell Fire Club piled up all the tables and chairs in the grand hall to leave a footprint on the ceiling.

"It is not yet known whether Mr Clooney and his friends were planning a repeat performance."

Making them click

Mirror - Liverpool boss Brendan Rogers rents Steven Gerrard's home

Observer - IS threat to wantaway British jihadis

Mail - Inside Russia's "house of horrors"

Sun - X Factor's Chloe in "romp"