Newspaper headlines: Diesel tax, referendum debate and Hillary Clinton

Among a mixed bag of front page headlines, the Telegraph says Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has suggested the need to consider raising taxes on diesel vehicles to cut toxic levels of nitrogen oxides and prevent deaths in cities.

"His comments will worry drivers, many of whom bought diesel cars believing they were the more environmentally friendly option," says the Telegraph.

It says road haulage companies last night warned that any increase would make UK businesses "less competitive and increase prices in the shops".

The Times says Mr McLoughlin signalled that drivers of diesel cars could face tax rises under plans to tackle pollution in city centres.

The paper continues: "He said that it was a mistake for the previous Labour government to have incentivised the sale of diesels, which led to 11 million cars powered by the fuel hitting the roads.

"Many people are now looking at whether they should continue to choose diesel cars because of pollution fears, with some switching to electric vehicles, Mr McLoughlin said."

Image copyright Reuters

The Guardian says owners of diesel cars could face steeper prices at the pump after the government admitted that it is considering reversing tax cuts brought in by Gordon Brown.

"The Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said that the former Labour chancellor had made a mistake when he cut the duty on low-sulphur diesel by 3p in his 2001 Budget," it reports.

"Brown announced the measure ahead of the general election to help meet climate change targets.

"However, it has since emerged that diesel engines emit up to four times as much nitrogen oxide and 20 times as many particulates, which have been linked with problems in the lungs, heart and brain."

In an editorial, the Telegraph expresses sympathy for those who have bought diesel vehicles.

It says: "Now Mr McLoughlin suggests that diesel drivers should should pay higher tax, to deter them from driving. This will not do.

"People who bought diesels did so in good faith and with the clear encouragement of the government. The government may well have been mistaken, but it does not follow that motorists should be penalised."


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Invisible St Bernard

The papers reflect on Tuesday night's televised EU referendum debate involving PM David Cameron and UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

In his political sketch in the Times, Patrick Kidd writes: "The referendum campaign headed to the Olympic Park in east London last night, scene of that wonderful August Saturday when modern Britain could be seen in the triple golds won by a Somalian refugee runner, a mixed-race heptathlete and a ginger long jumper.

"How long ago that all now seems. All that's gold can lose its glister.

"Was it only four years ago that the country seemed to be happy, united, in love with each other even - so full of optimism that we could imagine that the Queen had jumped out of a helicopter with 007?"

Michael Deacon in his sketch in the Telegraph notes: "David Cameron was doing that thing with his legs again.

"During his interrogation by the studio audience on Sky News last week, you may have noticed that the prime minister kept standing with his legs bizarrely far apart.

"Last night he was at it once more. Possibly it's meant to make him look powerful, manly and authoritative. In reality, it makes him look as if he's straddling an invisible St Bernard."

The i says Mr Cameron attacked the "Little England" mentality of pro-Brexit campaigners - while Mr Farage argued that quitting the EU would be the only way to regain control of the UK's borders.

The Guardian reports that the Brexit team have challenged Mr Cameron to a head-to-head TV debate.

"The prime minister has declined offers to do one-on-one events, as he does not want to be seen to attack senior Tory colleagues in the Brexit camp directly," it says.

"Engaging in a head-to-head debate with another politician would also arguably raise the status of his opponent."


Revolutionary moment

The papers react to the almost certain nomination of Hillary Clinton as Democratic Party candidate for US president.

"Should Hillary Clinton enter the White House in 2017," says the Times, "she would be returning almost a quarter of a century after she first set up residence there as First Lady.

"Until a few years ago she had spent only eight years outside a presidential administration, and in those years she was a senator for New York.

"Nor is this her first tilt at the top job. Her contest against Barack Obama in 2008 was close, but long and tarnishing. Yet her candidacy this time, let alone her victory, would be a revolutionary moment in American history.

"After 44 presidents and nearly two-and-a-half centuries, the United States could be led by a woman."

Image copyright Getty Images

The Telegraph says her nomination is testament to her doggedness and ambition.

"She had been the favourite to win the nomination in 2008, only to have it snatched away by an upstart senator from Illinois called Barack Obama," it continues.

"This time she faced an unexpectedly tenacious challenge from Bernie Sanders, whose socialist agenda has succeeded in pulling her policies to the left in response.

"Now that she has the nomination sewn up, Mrs Clinton will have to tack to the centre once more to take on the one man she never expected to be fighting - the Republican nominee Donald Trump."

The AP news agency reported on Monday that Mrs Clinton had enough delegates to qualify as the Democratic nominee.

The Guardian says Mrs Clinton was expected to celebrate becoming the first woman to lead a bid for the White House by a main party.

The i reports that she told a cheering crowd that she was on the brink of an "historic, unprecedented moment."


Three lions

While many of the papers focus on security fears surrounding the Euro 2016 football championship, the Telegraph also brings us the lighter story of Leo the lion.

The stuffed toy has been adopted by the England team to keep the squad amused during the tournament in France.

Image copyright PA

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has been seen carrying the lion, apparently as some sort of forfeit.

Of course, there are two others toys for the Three Lions - one looked after by the staff and the other for the dressing room.