Newspaper headlines: Business letter row and lottery winners

The papers take their sides in the row over the letter signed by more than 100 business leaders on the government's economic record.

The Conservatives have called it an "unprecedented" pre-election endorsement. Labour says the letter was organised by the Tories.

The Guardian says Labour hit back with a letter of its own, from what the party called a true cross-section of British society.

The Daily Telegraph - the paper in which the original letter appeared - says 17 more major business figures have signed a letter endorsing the Conservatives' economic plans.

"Who said that letters were dead in the internet age?" asks business editor Richard Fletcher in the Times.

In a leading article, the same paper says Labour has alarmed businesses with its attitude to lower taxes and a flexible labour market. "These are vital to a strong economy," it says.

Jeremy Warner, in the Telegraph, believes they were right to write the letter: "For on all but the most fanciful of interpretations, the coalition has done well when judged by the yardstick of economic management."

But Seumas Milne in the Guardian says it is hardly surprising that "some of the wealthiest corporate executives are opposed to a party that wants to increase the top rate of tax, reverse the latest Tory cut in corporation tax and scrap 90% of the zero-hours contacts their companies dine off".


They are dubbed "Britain's luckiest couple" by the papers - David and Kathleen Long, who have won £1m on the Lottery for a second time. The press put the chances of this happening at 283 billion to one.

The Sun, Daily Mirror and Daily Star all have them on their front pages and focus on the fact that the couple remained living in their static caravan after their last win in 2013.

The Sun says they now plan to move to a house and take a Mediterranean cruise, while the Mirror notes there are better odds on Simon Cowell becoming prime minister and the royal baby being named Wayne.

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Image caption David and Kathleen Long toast their luck

The Daily Mail says last week's win followed a spur-of the-moment purchase when Mr Long saw a poster advertising the draw in a supermarket.

"After beating odds of 283 billion to one they have surely earned a holiday this time around," is the view of the Daily Express.

The Times looks at some other odds - the chances of a monkey typing the word EuroMillions on a typewriter (191.5 quintillion to one); rolling 15 dice and every one of them coming up as a six (470 billion to one); and winning the National Lottery jackpot on a Wednesday or Saturday (14 million to one).

The Guardian says Mr Long admits there was one thing he wanted that he could not get first time round - a season ticket for Liverpool FC.

"There is lucky, beyond lucky and mind-bogglingly, jaw-droppingly jammy," says the Independent. "But a whole new vocabulary may be required to describe the good fortune of David and Kathleen Long."

A cartoon on the front of the Times jokes that they had better odds than Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg holding on to his parliamentary seat.


The papers have a bit of fun ahead of Thursday's televised leaders' election debate.

The Telegraph pictures a scene from the Legoland Discovery Centre in Manchester with the leaders' line-up comprised of the plastic toy bricks, complete with bookmakers' odds on who will win the contest.

Daniel Finkelstein in the Times believes it may not be possible to tell: "I have bad news: the answer will probably be no one. And even if someone does win, it may be hard to tell exactly who."

Adams' cartoon in the Telegraph has the leaders as the Seven Dwarfs - Stuffy (David Cameron), Dopey (Ed Miliband), Needy (Nick Clegg), Tipsy (Nigel Farage), Dozey (Natalie Bennett), Tiddly (Leanne Wood) and Proxy (Nicola Sturgeon - with Alex Salmond peeping out from behind her podium).

The Telegraph is sceptical about what we can expect from the event.

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Image caption George Osborne toured a factory in Leeds

"Tonight's televised election debate will be emblematic of our political system: fragmented, superficial, petulant and almost certainly unenlightening.

"The very fact that there will be seven participants is indicative of how the comfortable binary choices of old have been displaced within the space of a short lifetime."

Ann Treneman's political sketch in the Times says George Osborne "failed to fizz" when he visited a soft drinks factory on the campaign trail.

"I have always wanted to see the chancellor in the Northern Powerhouse that he has created by the sheer relentlessness of his endless hi-vis jacket, photo-opportunity tour. So when I heard that he was making a speech at Britvic in Leeds, I knew I had to go.

"It was surprising George could be so entirely flat in a room full of thousands of fizzy drinks. I felt the desire to attach him to a SodaStream and make him sparkle."

John Crace's sketch in the Guardian also follows Mr Osborne's visit.

"On the very day that 103 business leaders signed a letter to the Daily Telegraph thanking the Conservatives for their magnificent handling of the economy, George Osborne just happened to find himself dropping in on two of the companies whose head honchos had been signatories of the billet-doux.

"Truly God moves in mysterious ways; though it never hurts to make your own luck."

Similarly, Donald MacIntyre in the Independent says it was a "good call" because "by an astonishing coincidence the company's chairman had been among 103 businessmen who signed a Telegraph letter that very morning saying what a good job the chancellor was doing".


The papers reflect on the eventful life of Cynthia Lennon, Beatle John Lennon's first wife, who has died at the age of 75.

The Express features a black-and-white photo of the couple at the height of Beatlemania on its front page, as does the Guardian.

The Times says she accused the singer of beating her and cheating on her with Yoko Ono. An obituary in the the Telegraph says their marriage hit the rocks when Lennon met Ono.

The Guardian quotes Hunter Davies, who wrote the the official biography of the Beatles in 1968, as saying: "She was totally different from John in that she was quiet and reserved. She was not a hippy at all."

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Image caption Cynthia Lennon was kept away from the limelight

"She was John Lennon's first wife and witnessed the rise of Beatlemania first-hand, only to be kept hidden from view as fame engulfed her husband; overshadowed by Yoko Ono and overlooked by music historians," says the Independent.

"Yet Cynthia Lennon was never forgotten by Beatles fans and tributes flooded in after news of her death."

An Independent obituary says her steadfastness was rewarded by cruel treatment at the hands of the Beatle.

"Innately conservative, she was left behind by the rock'n'roll lifestyle, and it was symbolic that when the band caught the train to Bangor in 1967 to meet the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi she was left on the platform," it says.

"She did travel with the band to the Maharishi's ashram in India, though the experience prompted John, on the flight home, to confess to all his infidelities. It was a long list."

The Express describes her as the "shy beauty who stole Lennon's heart". And the Sun says she was kept out of the limelight amid fears she might put off female fans if they found out Lennon had a wife.