Newspaper headlines: Khan versus Corbyn, EU vote 'big beasts' deploy

London Mayor Sadiq Khan Image copyright Getty Images

Sadiq Khan's election as mayor of London gives several of the Sunday papers the chance to focus on what that means for the wider Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

None more so than the Observer, which carries an article written by Mr Khan himself, which the paper believes carries a "clear message to the Labour leader on how to win elections".

In his piece, Mr Khan states that Labour "only wins when we face outwards and focus on the issues that people care about" and "we must be able to persuade people who previously voted Conservative that Labour can be trusted with the economy and security, as well as improving public services and creating a fairer society".

The Mail on Sunday reports Mr Corbyn was "conspicuous by his absence" at Mr Khan's swearing-in ceremony at London's Southwark Cathedral on Saturday. The paper reports sources as saying "the new mayor appeared determined not have his moment of glory tarnished by association with Mr Corbyn", although Mr Khan's spokesman said there was an "open invitation" to all London MPs to attend the cathedral.

The number of Londoners who voted for Mr Khan - 1.3 million - was five times more than the number who backed Mr Corbyn in the leadership election, notes the Sunday Times, which says "moderates expect him to create a 'Labour Party in exile'".

The Sun on Sunday believes Mr Khan will now "establish a separate leadership empire, paving the way for an eventual challenge for the top job". However, in its editorial, the Sun says it is a "bit rich" for Mr Khan to "take a pop" at the party leader, because he was one of the MPs who nominated him as a candidate for the leadership.

There is also criticism of that decision in the Sunday Telegraph, which says Mr Khan's "shifting attitudes" towards Mr Corbyn - having ridden "on a wave of 'Corbyn-mania'" to win the party's nomination for London mayor - allows voters "to project on him whatever they want in a leader".

Labour Party deputy leader Tom Watson, writing in the Sunday Mirror, calls for patience from members, noting that Mr Corbyn was elected eight months ago. "A leadership challenge is about as likely as a snowstorm in the Sahara," he writes.


Back to 'Brexit'

While Thursday's elections have dominated the daily papers for the last two days, the Sundays are able to resume their extensive coverage of the UK's referendum on membership of the EU, with the story featuring on the front pages of the Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph.

The Sunday Times says the campaign ahead of the 23 June vote is heading into top gear, reporting that former London Mayor Boris Johnson will be "unleashed on Wednesday on a nationwide bus tour" in which he will "debunk and destroy the myth that the EU single market has ever done anything useful".

It seems the "big beasts" are being deployed on both sides of the debate, with the Mail on Sunday reporting former Prime Minister Gordon Brown will be deployed to "regain the initiative after two polls last week gave the 'Out' campaign a narrow advantage".

The Observer carries a letter from a group of 93 leading pharmaceutical and healthcare organisations, which states that there are "significant benefits" in the UK remaining in the EU, with patients here and in mainland Europe getting medicines more quickly, thanks to harmonised regulatory approvals.

But the Sunday Express reports that according to official figures, one in every 15 pupils in British schools has at least one parent from the EU. Employment Minister and "Leave" campaigner Priti Patel tells the paper that is "leading to huge and unsustainable pressures".

The Sunday Telegraph says that while the UK's school-age population has shrunk slightly from 10.5 million to 10.4 million, "the number of children aged between five and 18 with at least more than one European parent more than doubled".

The Sun on Sunday carries comment pieces by two MPs from different parties, but both ex-soldiers. Labour's Dan Jarvis and Tory Tom Tugenhadt make separate cases for staying in the EU, with the latter stating the "European partnership has helped turn enemies into friends and made us all better off".


Eye-catching headlines

  • Cumberbatch: My poor looks help - the Sunday Times reports (with a straight face) comments by Sherlock actor Benedict that his "poor looks" have helped his career. Likening himself to Sid the Sloth from the Ice Age films, Cumberbatch tells the paper: "I've had a career that's not dependent on the way that I look - but that is a great liberation for an actor."
  • Fruit sales plunge 14%... and fresh veggies are down 5% - hard-pressed farmers have accused the supermarkets of not doing enough to promote fresh fruit and veg, reports the Sunday People. The big chains have a "moral responsibility" to boost healthy food sales and fight the obesity crisis, the National Farmers Union says.
  • Now experts say don't change your password! - The Mail on Sunday rightly calls it one of the banes of modern life, inventing un-crackable combinations while avoiding pets' names. But, according to the paper, no less an authority than the government's secret listening post GCHQ has advised against regular password expiry because they are often similar to the one they replace, and attackers can exploit that.
  • Head: Potter ruins brains - a private school headmaster has come out against children reading JK Rowling's boy wizard books - along with novels by Tolkein and Pratchett - because they "damage their brains", reports the Sun. Graeme Whiting of Acorn School in Gloucestershire thinks children should read Keats and Shakespeare.

Charter chatter

The government is widely expected to publish its White Paper on the future of the BBC this week, ahead of its Royal Charter being renewed, elements of which are reported in the Sunday papers.

For some, the key issue is an apparent demand by Culture Secretary John Whittingdale that the corporation reveals how much it pays its top on-air stars, a development which the Mail on Sunday claims caused a "blazing row" between the minister and BBC director general Tony Hall. The latter was arguing that such a move would make it easier for rival broadcasters to "poach the BBC's top talent", the paper says.

According to the Sun on Sunday - which notes that "around 120 of the corporation's TV and radio stars are paid more than £150,000 a year" - the BBC believes such a move would only "'satisfy public intrigue' without serving any purpose".

The Sunday Telegraph reports the White Paper will give the corporation an 11-year charter, but will "ensure it does not use its £3.7bn of licence fee income to produce shows that ape other broadcasters' programming".

However, a "Conservative rift" over reform of the BBC is reportedly developing, with the Observer saying 20 MPs and peers are ready to oppose the recommendations. The paper says they see them as "an assault on the BBC's editorial independence, creative freedoms and ability to run its own affairs".

Elsewhere, the Sunday Times says Lord Hall wants to save £100m a year by taking away free TV licences from those aged over 75 if someone in their household is in work. Such a move would "avoid a head-on battle with the over-75s" when the BBC takes responsibility for the £750m cost of free TV licences in 2020, says the paper.


What the commentators say

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Media captionAnne Ashworth of the Times and the Evening Standard's Mihir Bose review the front pages

'Fantastic Foxes'

Saturday was of course the day that the Premier League trophy was presented to the most-talked about team on the footballing planet, Leicester City FC.

Image copyright AFP

In an eight-page pullout, the Mail on Sunday's chief sports writer Oliver Holt says Leicester "have breathed new life and new possibilities into the English game". "They have smashed the smug old order with it might-is-right philosophy and they have allowed us to believe that anything is possible again," he writes.

The Observer's Jamie Doward reports from Leicester on the celebrations, saying the presentation of the trophy was "confirmation for those worried that they were still dreaming that their side really was the best in England".

"This is the realisation they have really won the league," fan Lee Chapman tells the Sunday Express.

The celebrations in Leicester were more than just emotionally moving, according to the Sun on Sunday. The paper reports that students from Leicester University placed a seismometer near the King Power stadium, which recorded a "mini earthquake" as fans "cheered, clapped and stood during goals and presentations".

Thanks to the Sunday People, we learn Leicester is not just famous for its football team. According to the paper it has a "rich food heritage". Delicacies associated with the city and county include red Leicester cheese, Stilton cheese, Pukka Pies, Melton Mowbray pork pies, Walker's crisps, and curry.


The pleasant weekend weather we've been experiencing - with more to come on Sunday - gives the papers an excuse to show off shots of people in beachwear enjoying the sun.

"Bring out the barbie and get those bangers sizzling - today is going to be a scorcher", declares the Sunday People.

Image copyright PA

"Britain will be hotter today than Ibiza, Athens and Rome", says the Mail on Sunday, as temperatures in parts of the country are set to exceed 27C (80F) on Sunday.

The Sunday Express reports that Tesco expects to sell 1.5 million packs of sausages this weekend, while Sainsbury's expects a 140% increase in sun cream sales.

The Sun on Sunday reports that "while the South sizzled, there was torrential rain, thunder and even hail in the Midlands, Wales and North West".

The Sunday Mirror illustrates the good weather enjoyed on Saturday with a picture of Biscuit, a kunekune pig, being sprayed with sun lotion by his keeper at Chessington World of Adventures in Surrey.


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