Newspaper headlines: Miliband 'plot'; Tower poppies, Band Aid 30

The future of Labour leader Ed Miliband is examined in Friday's newspapers amid suggestions of unrest among some of his party's MPs.

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The Independent reports he was forced to try and head off a move to oust him by backbenchers who fear Labour is heading for defeat at May's general election.

Mr Miliband branded claims of a rebellion "nonsense".

In the Daily Telegraph's view, the response was a high-risk strategy and appeared to "backfire". It reports MPs said he had only deepened the "sense of crisis" around his leadership.

In its leader column, the Daily Telegraph dismisses the "received wisdom... that tone, not policy, is Labour's undoing".

The Daily Mail says Mr Miliband was "plunged into crisis" after a secret meeting was held by MPs from the North West "horrified" by a slump in the polls.

But the Mail warns David Cameron against being too smug. Labour could still win the general election, it says in a leader, urging the prime minister to devise a strategy to win back Tory voters who have deserted to UKIP.

The Sun also suggests the Labour leadership crisis could be worrying for David Cameron as Mr "Miliband's weakness is the Tories' best asset", although it does not believe he will step down before the election.

For the Times, "plotting" backbenchers "need to stay quiet". There is "no viable alternative on offer" and they should be helping the party "reset" its message on the economy and public spending.

The Times reports that two leading candidates to replace Mr Miliband - shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary - have opened secret negotiations on what to do if he steps down.

However, according to the Guardian, there is no sign that any of the few potential leadership rivals want to move against him. It reports Mr Miliband will now attempt to raise the profile of the shadow cabinet team and allow its members to "articulate their own agendas".

Writing in the paper, former Labour MP Clive Soley says it is crucial the party provides a "vision of where we want to take the country and how we intend to get there".

The Daily Mirror would seem to agree with that view. "Ed's not dead", is its headline.

In a leader, the Mirror says it believes Mr Miliband needs to show "convincing leadership".

"The best way to silence critics within and without the wider party is to raise his game... getting across more clearly why it is worth voting Labour".


'National sentiment'

There is an exploration of the growing clamour to keep an installation of 888,246 ceramic poppies at the Tower of London beyond Armistice Day.

The commemoration marking the centenary of the start of World War One has attracted an estimated four million visitors so far.

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And the Daily Mail welcomes the news that leaders of all the main political parties have now thrown their weight behind calls to extend the period the poppies are on display.

"It might give the Tower some logistical headaches. But, in this centenary year, these can be overcome, especially as the poppies honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of us all," says the paper.

The Daily Telegraph too suggests a "stay of harvest would reflect a justified national sentiment".

Telegraph features writer Elizabeth Grice plants a poppy in honour of her two great-uncles who died in the war and describes the scene in the Tower's moat as a "powerful and imaginative ritual of remembrance".

Among the visitors was "astonishing unanimity" that the field of poppies should not close yet, she writes.

But the Guardian says the the Tower is "refusing to budge", explaining one of the reasons is that the "poppies' transience" was part of the original concept devised by the artist Paul Cummins for his installation called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.

The poppies sold out within weeks of going on sale in August at a price of £25 each and some of the profits are going to service charities. The Times reports that auction website eBay has now banned the resale of the poppies to stop profiteers cashing in on the memorial.


Most poisonous plant

Could a gardener at a country estate in Hampshire have collapsed and died after handling a highly poisonous plant growing in the grounds?

The Daily Mirror reports that Nathan Greenaway, who died in hospital from multiple organ failure on 7 September, may have handled the flower aconitum, also known as devil's helmet and monkshood. The 33-year-old mysteriously fell ill but doctors were unable to work out what was wrong with him.

The North Hampshire coroner heard a link with the aconitum plant became apparent when Mr Greenaway's father carried out research to find out what happened, reports the Times.

The full inquest into the death is yet to take place but the Daily Telegraph says a hearing on Thursday was told a histopathologist's conclusion was that it was "more likely than not" that contact with the purple flowering plant caused the death.

"Britain's most poisonous plant" is found in thousands of gardens and is referred to in the Harry Potter books, Shakespeare's Henry IV Part II, and Greek mythology, notes the Telegraph. The paper says poisoning can occur if the plant is ingested or handled without gloves, its roots are particularly toxic, and there is no known antidote.


Ripper report

There is widespread coverage of the murder of a 22-year-old women at hostel in the village of Argoed, near Blackwood, south Wales, in what is believed to have been an act of cannibalism. The suspect, Matthew Williams, 34, was shot with a police Taser, and died after he was arrested.

Metro and the Daily Star lead with the story, and along with the Daily Mirror and Daily Mail, liken Williams's reported actions to that of the fictional killer Hannibal Lecter.

Meanwhile, the Sun reports that friends of Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe believe he is "on the brink of death" after a heart attack. The 68-year-old is being held at Broadmoor high-security psychiatric hospital, where he is serving life for 13 murders committed between 1975 and 1980.


Lucan theory

Forty years after Lord Lucan disappeared following the murder of his children's nanny, the Daily Mirror carries an interview with a friend who says he can explain what turned the peer into a killer.

George Weiss says Lord Lucan was "tipped over the edge" on 7 November 1974 when a pet kitten he had sent his children and estranged wife, in an attempt to make amends, was posted through his door with its throat cut.

Lord Lucan has not been seen since Sandra Rivett was found dead at his family's central London home and an inquest jury the following year ruled he had murdered her.

The Daily Express carries an interview with the son Miss Rivett gave up for adoption, who says he will be marking his mother's death with a visit to the south London crematorium where her ashes were scattered.


Band Aid 30

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And 30 years after the Band Aid charity single Do They Know It's Christmas? the Sun's Bizarre column reports boy band One Direction are the first big-name stars to be confirmed for a new version of the song.

The paper says it is thought creator Bob Geldof is planning to re-record the track to raise money for the Ebola crisis in Africa.

The original 1984 recording was number one in the UK singles chart at Christmas and raised millions for famine relief in Ethiopia. Two other recordings, in 1989 and 2004, also topped the Christmas charts.

The Sun says Adele and Florence Welch have been approached to join the Band Aid 30 project.


Making people click

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Times: It's time that Guy Fawkes night went up in smoke

Daily Mail: Chaos breaks out in London as Russell Brand joins thousands of masked Guy Fawkes protesters in dramatic Bonfire Night demonstration

Daily Telegraph: Stephen Fry quits Twitter as it is 'unsafe' for him to tweet

Guardian: What would the Tower of London poppy exhibition look like if it included the global dead of world war one?