Newspaper headlines: Virgin Galactic crash, Fiona Woolf resigns

"Shambles". "Crisis". "Disaster". "Turmoil".

These are just some of the words used in the papers this morning to describe the government's inquiry into historical child sexual abuse. And that is before it has even started.

The Independent's leader column suggests that Fiona Woolf's position had been untenable for many weeks, since her social links to the former home secretary, Lord Brittan, became known.

Lord Brittan may be called to give evidence to the inquiry. He denies any wrongdoing in the way the "dossier" on alleged high-profile paedophiles was handled in the 1980s.

On the matter of Mrs Woolf's departure, the paper reflects that it is striking, even disturbing, how long some resignations from high public office take.

As the Daily Mirror points out, the resignation of the person appointed to head the inquiry - for a second time - leaves the long-awaited probe still with "no start date", four months after it was launched by Home Secretary Theresa May.

In a damning leader column, the Mirror accuses Mrs May of "breathtaking incompetence" for twice picking the wrong person for the job. "To lose one chairwoman was a tragedy," it says, "but a second is farcical."

The Guardian's home affairs editor, Alan Travis, suggests that "an almost impossible task" now faces Mrs May. He says that it is "hard to see how a substantial figure can be appointed who will have sufficient legal or child protection expertise who won't face accusations of being an establishment figure".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fiona Woolf said she did not realise Lord Brittan would feature in the inquiry

In an exclusive interview, Mrs Woolf tells the Times that she had not mentioned her dealings with Lord Brittan when she was being vetted for the job by the Home Office because she did not regard him as a friend or realise he would feature in the inquiry.

Describing the weeks of mounting pressure that led her to quit as "the most worrying period" of her life, she goes on to warn of the possible difficulty of finding a replacement. If they are to have "no connections", will it require "a hermit?" she asks.

It is a concern shared by others, including those at the Daily Telegraph.

"The problem is," it says in its leader column, "that almost anyone with the relevant qualifications... will be a member of the very legal and political establishment whose conduct is in question".

But others remain more optimistic, including the shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper. Writing in the Mirror, she cites the examples of Hillsborough and the Soham murders as having prompted "sensitive inquiries... that have delivered extremely important results".

She declares: "It should not be beyond the home secretary to establish a credible inquiry."


'Appalling risks'

The wreckage of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic spacecraft is pictured on several front pages, after it crashed on a test flight in the California desert.

The Times reports that observers described the spacecraft "exploding in the sky".

The paper says that Virgin Galactic was the "leader in the quest to get ordinary people to extraordinary heights".

"Last night's reminder of the appalling risks of experimental space travel will," the Times says, "cast a pall... over an entire private sector space industry".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Wreckage from the spacecraft lying near Cantil, California

The Daily Telegraph says the accident, in which one pilot was killed and another seriously injured, threatens to end Sir Richard's "long-cherished ambition" to offer commercial flights in space.

The Guardian says the history of the Virgin Galactic project has been "plagued with problems".

Last year, the paper says, the Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield, said that the "nature of space travel meant it appeared inevitable" that at some point a spacecraft could crash.


Ebola weapon

The Times reports on a new weapon being mobilised in Britain in the fight against the Ebola virus: GP receptionists.

Under guidance issued by the Royal College of GPs, anyone calling surgeries with Ebola-like symptoms will be asked whether they have visited the West Africa region - which has been hit by the outbreak.

The aim of the guidance is to stop people potentially putting others at risk by coming in to the surgery.

The Telegraph's front page includes a report on a new Foreign Office warning that British holidaymakers are at risk of attacks by Islamist militants as a result of the UK's intervention in Iraq and Syria.

The warning, which was issued on Friday night and reflects a generalised threat, "applies to every country in the world".


Hellishly hot?

The warmest Halloween on record in Britain prompts the Daily Mirror's headline "Hotter than Hell" - a reference, it turns out, to the US city of Hell, Michigan.

It was a rainy 8C (46F) there on the last day of October, while temperatures passed 23C (73F) in some places in the UK.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Many enjoyed the unusually warm weather on London's Primrose Hill

The Telegraph's leader asks: "We can't complain. Or can we? The British seem to enjoy being martyrs to the weather."

The paper is one of several to cover the weather-related problems on the ice rink at the Natural History Museum in London on Friday, where visitors were surprised to find themselves skating through an inch of slush.