Newspaper headlines: Cameron's European 'battle' begins

Three days after his election victory and there is much attention on David Cameron's promise to renegotiate the terms of Britain's membership of the EU.

The Daily Telegraph reports the prime minister is "pushing for victory in Europe". Mr Cameron has "already made calls" to other leaders as he attempts to claw back powers from Brussels, it adds, quoting party sources as saying his promised in-out referendum could be brought forward to next year.

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The Daily Mail says an early vote could "help lance the boil" instead of letting the issue drag on and dominate the first half of Parliament.

But the Independent says that while Eurosceptic backbenchers insist there will be no repeat of the rebellions which destabilised John Major's government in the 1990s, they are "already raising the bar high". The prime minister says he favours staying in a reformed EU but the MPs are warning they will campaign to leave if he secures only cosmetic changes, it explains.

According to the Daily Express, senior MPs are urging Mr Cameron use his election mandate to extract major concessions. Mr Cameron, it says in an editorial, "must take the fight to Brussels and come back victorious. Then he has to let the people decide".

Elsewhere, front page stories in the Times and Guardian suggest Mr Cameron has a more pressing fight with Europe on his hands.

The papers highlight EU proposals for a mandatory migrant quota system that could see the UK obliged to take in refugees rescued in the Mediterranean. They will be fiercely resisted by the new Conservative government, says the Guardian.

The Times says it is the "first battle" of Mr Cameron's new premiership. Its leader column describes the plans as "ill-conceived" and says they will make it "far harder" for Mr Cameron to secure a deal with Brussels ahead of the referendum.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports that ministers in Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary are warning the prime minister against meddling with "sacrosanct" migrant worker rights. The issue is set to become the biggest flashpoint in Mr Cameron's pursuit of a "new deal" for Britain, says the paper.


Grateful nation

Tributes are paid to the 1,000 World War Two veterans who paraded through central London on Sunday in commemoration of their victory in Europe 70 years ago.

Image copyright PA

"Their marching days are long behind them. But pride, and gratitude, can give strength to weary limbs," write Valentine Low and Deborah Haynes in the Times.

Three-days of VE Day events ended with a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey attended by the Queen and a flypast by the Red Arrows and World War Two aircraft and the heroes were "cheered by a grateful nation who will never forget them," says the Sun.

"Commemorations are now bittersweet as we remember the tragedy of so many lives cut short while also marking a glorious moment in our nation's history", notes the Daily Express.

In their leader columns, both the Daily Mirror and Daily Mail contrast the dignity of the former servicemen with protesters who defaced a nearby war memorial during an anti-austerity protest just hours before.


Cabinet loyalty

As David Cameron's cabinet takes shape with some familiar faces back behind their old desks, there is speculation about a new crop of ministers.

The Times says Iain Duncan Smith's reappointment as welfare secretary was the latest example of the prime minister opting for continuity. But the paper says further appointments are due and will aim to make the new government appear more representative.

The Daily Mail says a "string of powerful women" will be brought in to the cabinet as the PM honours a long-standing pledge for at least a third of his team to be female. It says he is seeking to shake off his party's "pale, male and stale image," and predicts jobs will go to the likes of Priti Patel, Andrea Leadsom, Anna Soubry and Amber Rudd.

The Financial Times says Mr Cameron has so far shown "remarkable loyalty" to senior ministers who served in the coalition but is now also likely to promote some Eurosceptic MPs in an attempt to maintain party discipline.

The Daily Mirror says when the full list emerges later it expects to see a "march of the Tory right" to head off any early internal strife.


Justice questions

One newly-appointed cabinet member is already reportedly hard at work. And Justice Secretary Michael Gove's efforts to drive through government plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a British bill of rights sparks some debate.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption How much say will the European Court of Human Rights have over UK affairs in future?

The Conservatives say they want to prevent UK laws being challenged by European judges after a series of disputed rulings involving terror suspects and prisoners.

But the Guardian says it could possibly end up with Britain withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights. It suggests that would plunge the UK into a "constitutional crisis" which would be resisted by the Scottish government, as well as breaching the terms of the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement.

The government is undertaking an "ill-starred project", says the Independent - it appears to be prepared to go to war for the sake of relatively marginal changes, while taking hard-earned freedoms for granted.

But the Daily Mail lists 15 cases where it says human rights legislation has been misused. It says scrapping the act will face "ferocious" opposition, but Mr Gove must "restore sanity" to Britain's courts.


Soul-searching advice

Labour's future continues to come under close scrutiny following the resignation of Ed Miliband as party leader after his election defeat.

Image caption Lord Mandelson made a round of media appearances on Sunday

The Financial Times says the Blairite wing of the party fanned out across the media over the weekend in an attempt to stall any leadership momentum behind Andy Burnham, the former health secretary who is a favourite with the unions.

The Independent says rival factions in the party are involved in an intense debate over the party's direction. The paper highlights ex-business secretary Lord Mandelson's appeal to limit union influence in the selection process.

In the Times, Patrick Kidd examines how Lord Mandelson, one of the architects of New Labour's election success, used his TV and radio appearances on Sunday to "plunge the dagger" into Mr Miliband's tenure.

But the Daily Mirror calls for some "genuine soul-searching" and says there is no need to rush into selecting a new leader. "Whether the party likes it or not, the Conservatives could be in office for another five years, so time is hardly pressing."

The paper's Paul Routledge believes Labour must silence the critics and its next leader should only be chosen by a secret ballot of paid-up members of the party.

"Labour is facing probably the most fundamental debate about its ideological direction for two decades," says the Guardian.


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