Newspaper headlines: 'The demanding prince' and Robbie's court battle

Thursday's papers go into great detail examining the content and intent of Prince Charles' letters to Labour ministers during the Blair and Brown years.

Twenty-seven missives - covering everything from Army helicopters to badger culling to the fate of the Patagonian Toothfish were released under a Freedom of Information act request.

Image copyright Getty Images

For the Guardian, which submitted the FOI request and fought a 10-year legal battle to have it granted, the letters show "lobbying at the highest political level".

The paper notes that the government had spent £400,000 trying to keep the notes private, in a courtroom odyssey that involved 16 different judges.

"Following the release of the 'black spider' memos - so-called because of the prince's scrawled handwriting - there were questions on Wednesday about whether it was worth the money to try to keep secret details of his lobbying, some of which reflects Charles's very narrow personal interests," it adds.

Labour MP Paul Flynn tells the paper: "His views were given a seriousness and priority they did not deserve."

The paper's tone is softer, arguing in its analysis that the memos were written with a "velvet glove".

Journalist Caroline Davies says: "Charles has had to create a role for himself while he waits to take his turn on the throne.

"There is no template, his supporters argue. Sources believe that in his view he has a duty to try to highlight concerns expressed to him."

The Independent's leader column argues: "Prince Charles comes across as a slightly cranky but well meaning, middle-aged fusspot with a little too much time on his hands.

"And yet there is something wrong in principle with the heir to the throne taking it upon himself to lobby the government.

"An old school of thought, and a robust one at that, holds that the monarch and their family should be seen and not heard, and confine themselves to the sort of small talk routinely encountered at Buckingham Palace garden parties. "

The Daily Mirror's associate editor Kevin Maguire is scathing.

Image caption Albatrosses: Prince Charles was worried that overfishing for toothfish would impact on the majestic seabird

He writes: "Charlie boy is the undeserving winner of a throw of the birth dice and abused his position by privately pressuring elected politicians to bow to his wishes."

The Times' leader comment says the prince is "well-informed" and the letters were an "understandable attempt" to make a difference "on subjects close to his heart".

But it adds: "It is constitutionally improper for the heir to the throne to exert pressure on the democratically elected government.

"By the simple fact of his position, a letter from the prince is not just a letter, but a pressure."

The Daily Telegraph disagrees.

"Far from forcing his unsolicited views down the throats of cowed ministers, the Prince was invariably apologetic about bothering them.

"But why should he not? Would we really rather have a playboy prince, one who is uninterested in the matters of state he will one day be entrusted with as king?"


'Lose out'

It is not unusual for immigration issues to make the headlines, and today's are made by the Bank of England governor's thoughts on the subject.

The Daily Mail summarises Mark Carney's remarks as "foreign workers drag down UK wages.

Mr Carney added that "sluggish earnings were a key risk to the country's recovery", the paper continues.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Poles and other Eastern Europeans now make up nearly a million of the UK's workforce, figures show

It notes the "dramatic intervention" of the bank chief coincided with the release of figures showing that there are 4.8m foreign-born workers in the UK, making up one-sixth of the country's labour force.

Of that total, 2m workers are from EU countries - 942,000 of them from Poland and other former Eastern Bloc nations.

The paper quotes Oxford University's Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva as saying: "As long as the British economy remains strong relative to the rest of the EU, we are going to see continued migration from other countries in the EU. It will remain an attractive destination."

The Mail concludes: "The data is another blow to the Government's aims to slow immigration.

"Mr Cameron suffered a humiliating blow before the election when his promise to get tough by reducing net migration to 'tens of thousands' a year was left in tatters when it hit nearly 300,000."

The Sun has a pie chart showing that of 573,000 new jobs created in the last year, only 279,000 went to UK workers.

The Daily Express's leader column says: "When our country is expected to operate as a job centre for the whole continent, ordinary Britons lose out."


Eye-catching headlines

"Tram-a-drama ding-dong" - The Daily Mirror reports that Coronation Street bosses are going to war with Greater Manchester transport chiefs over a new tram route which would see the soap's famous cobbles rattled by services every six minutes. "Parts of the set could be unusable," an ITV source fumes.

"Only fools and hearses" - A Welsh funeral cortege follows the wrong hearse for nine miles after a freak mix-up at a roundabout. The Daily Telegraph reports that Canon Geoffrey Gwyther, who presided at the funeral, likens the coincidence of two different hearses being at the same junction simultaneously to something from the popular south London sitcom.

"Fly to the moon in four hours" - The Daily Mail reports has a feature on EmDrive, a potentially revolutionary use of converting electric power into forward thrust in space. Its British inventor was mocked when he proposed the idea in 2006, but the technique is now being developed by Boeing and Nasa. Its proponents say it could propel craft at 450,000,000 mph.


Centre ground

The entry of Yvette Cooper into the race to be Labour's next leader came too late to make the first print editions of the most nationals, but there is still plenty of analysis.

The Financial Times gives you the odds, with Chuka Umunna at 5/4; Andy Burnham on 9/4; Yvette Cooper 5/1; Liz Kendall at 6/1 and Tristram Hunt (who has yet to declare his interest) at 8/1.

Image caption Chuka Umunna, the bookies' favourite

Ms Cooper announced she was a candidate via the pages of the Daily Mirror.

Writing in the paper she says: "We need a Labour party that moves beyond the old labels of left and right, and focuses four-square on the future. Credible, compassionate, creative, and connected to the day-to-day realities of life.

"I don't want to be the next leader of the Labour Party just because there's a vacancy, I want to make life better for Britain's families."

The Times says Labour's "old guard" have joined the race as the party "abandoned attempts to hold a speedy contest".

The deadline for nominations is 15 June and polling closes on 10 September.

The Times has two Labour MPs - Gloria De Piero and Jon Ashworth - writing a joint column.

The pair argue that their party "mustn't let the Conservatives seize the blue-collar vote".

"When you've jumped as many social classes as we have - both born into hardship and having to graft for our education and careers - you don't need anyone to tell you how important aspiration is," they write.

"At every income level and in every part of the country, Labour needs to show it is the party of aspiration and social mobility."

Elsewhere in the paper, former Labour minister Alan Milburn also bangs the "aspirational" drum long and loud.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Andy Burnham: likely to get the unions' vote, according to the Times

"The biggest post-war winners, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, had different agendas but a common understanding that what unites voters is a desire to see aspiration rewarded."

Guardian columnist Seumas Milne argues that "the Blairites have seized on Labour's defeat to launch a bid to take back control of the party".

"More than two decades after Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson created New Labour, they are demanding a return to its 1990s embrace of corporate power and a mythical 'centre ground'.

New Labour, he says, was "dependent on a City boom that imploded" and "the assumption that working-class and leftwing voters had nowhere else to go".

Last week's vote, he says, shows how wrong they were and how Labour had to distinguish itself from "the political establishment".

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