Newspaper headlines: Tory spotlight over Budget

Theresa May and Philip Hammond Image copyright PA
Image caption Many of the newspapers shine a light on the Conservative party after the Budget fallout

Several papers firmly focus on Prime Minister Theresa May and the Conservatives in a post-Budget world and what it could all mean for the political party.

Next Tuesday is the date to mark in the diaries as some declare the prime minister could "fire the Brexit starting gun" as early as next week.

The Daily Telegraph says ministers are increasingly confident the Article 50 Bill could clear both the Commons and the Lords on Monday and are pressing the PM to "get on with it". The paper says the announcement would help to move the debate away from Chancellor Philip Hammond's budget.

The Financial Times agrees that the "signs point to an imminent Article 50" with Tuesday being the likely day. It says the other 27 EU leaders have been told to prepare for a Brussels meeting on 6 April to respond to Britain's formal letter of notification.


Meanwhile, the chancellor is still being hung out to dry by some of the papers over his "tax raid".

"Hammond still on the rack" says the huge headline across two of the four pages the Daily Mail devotes to attacking, among other things, his tax rises for the self-employed. The paper says while small firms are hammered, the big boys are still getting away with murder.

The Sun, championing "white van man", has pictures of the self-employed putting Sun anti-Hammond stickers on their vehicles.

Number 10 should correct the mistake and move forward, urges the Daily Telegraph. But according to the Mirror, "the budget fiasco exposes the arrogance, incompetence and disdain of a Tory government which only pretends to care about the grafters, strivers and risk takers".

Whereas the "I" newspaper worries about the effect all this is having on the relationship between Mr Hammond and Mrs May.

"They usually fall out in the end, prime ministers and chancellors," writes columnist Andrew Grice; "the danger for Theresa May and Philip Hammond is that they fall out at the beginning." In his editor's column, Oliver Duff, appeals for any marriage guidance counsellors among his readership to head for Downing Street - where, he says, there's a partnership in need of some TLC.


The prime minister has suffered a "poll blow" in the wake of the Budget, according to the Daily Telegraph. A Comres survey of just over 1,000 adults suggested just one in four now regarded the Tories as a "low tax party" - while almost half said they trusted the Tories less as a result of the Budget.

The outcry against plans to increase National Insurance for the self-employed continues. The Daily Mirror says David Cameron was right for the first time in years when lip readers caught him declaring that Mrs May was stupid to break a Tory manifesto promise.

However, Matthew Parris in his Times column says the chancellor was justified in ripping up the pledge on National Insurance - but foolish to think we wouldn't notice.

According to the Daily Mail, Treasury officials have admitted that some families may have to resort to desperate measures to pay new probate fees of up to £20,000.

A government analysis is said to show that many will have to borrow the money at costly short-term rates, to afford the fees, which have to be paid up-front.


The Times says all grammar schools are to be made to increase their intake from deprived backgrounds, matching conditions already set out for new grammar schools.

Under reforms to be unveiled next month, the paper says, the 163 existing grammar schools will have to offer children from lower income families more flexible entry tests.

Meanwhile a school in Essex has been dubbed "Britain's brainiest" reports the Daily Star, after discovering that 20 of its students have higher IQs than Professor Stephen Hawking.

Woodlands School selected 100 pupils to take the test, with one in five ranking in the highest 2% of the population. "The only way is Mensa" says the headline.

Uri Geller claims, in an interview with the Telegraph, that MI5 arranged for him to come to the UK in the 1970s to test his psychic powers. He says he was invited to appear on The David Dimbleby Talk Show in 1973 as a smokescreen for the visit.

Mr Geller also says that he told Theresa May she would become prime minister when she visited him in 2013; he says he made the prediction while touching a spoon once owned by Sir Winston Churchill.


The Sun says "furious" health chiefs have launched an investigation after the paper revealed footage of workers at a home care company stripping at their desks for online sex shows.

An investigation by the paper apparently found staff at the offices of a Caremark franchise at Walsall in the West Midlands selling sex chats and removing clothes for online viewers.

Caremark's Chief Executive declined to comment when shown a clip, the paper says. But the chief inspector for social care at the Care Quality Commission, Andrea Sutcliffe, tells the paper such behaviour is "totally unacceptable" and she's asked inspectors to look into the matter further.


Former Democratic presidential hopeful, Bernie Sanders, attacks Donald Trump in a Guardian interview. He describes the president as a "pathological liar" and accuses him of wanting to "undermine the foundations of American democracy".

"Despair," he says, "is not an option." Asked if he thinks he could have beaten Trump, he replied: "I don't think it's a worthwhile speculation."