Newspaper headlines: 'Brexit battle' begins and Madeleine suspect

Theresa May Image copyright Getty Images

"EU takes the gloves off as Brexit battle begins", says the headline on the front page of The Sunday Times.

The paper highlights big differences over the sequencing of the forthcoming Brexit talks, with Theresa May reportedly insisting to Jean-Claude Juncker last week that a "detailed outline" of a free trade deal must be in place before Britain agrees to pay divorce money to Brussels.

"This was a rather incredible demand," the paper quotes an EU diplomat as saying.

"It seemed to come from a parallel reality."

The Sunday Telegraph describes the Brexit strategy, adopted by the 27 other EU leaders on Saturday, as "provocative" - and condemns the applause which broke out in Brussels.

"It was almost akin to a Soviet-era meeting of Warsaw Pact comrades," the paper says.


In The Sunday Times, the Labour donor, Michael Foster, warns that traditional Labour voters are switching to the Conservatives because of Jeremy Corbyn's "weakness and lack of leadership".

He urges Mr Corbyn to stand down if the party does badly in Thursday's local elections and says that if he fails to do so, he himself may stand against him in his Islington North constituency.

But the Sunday Mirror insists there are good reasons to back Labour.

It says disenchanted voters have already taken a punt on outsiders in America and France - a trend, it believes, which gives Mr Corbyn an "outside chance".

Image copyright Reuters

The Observer's Andrew Rawnsley highlights what he says are Theresa May's own failings, arguing that she's given few consistent clues about what she stands for and that her record of turning rhetoric into substance is thin.

Mr Rawnsley says the Tory manifesto should contain real promises because tough funding choices lie ahead.

"Mrs May will be in a stronger position if she's candid with voters now," he says, "rather than springing nasty surprises on them later".

The prime minister herself uses an interview with the Mail on Sunday to reveal more about her private life.

She says she's become much less shy since entering Number 10 and prays regularly, not just in church, for "spiritual connection".

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There's a warning in The Sunday Telegraph that thousands of paedophiles are going unpunished as detectives focus on historical abuse investigations.

The former head of the police's online child abuse unit, Peter Davies, says a great deal of effort and resources are being directed at areas which are less pressing than "real and detectable threats".


The Observer reports that the scandal surrounding the rogue breast surgeon, Ian Paterson, could widen.

A lawyer tells the paper she's already received calls from potential victims, alleging needless operations, and naming other clinicians.


Finally, there's a suggestion that companies bidding to build the first trains for the HS2 rail network will have to respond to complaints that modern seats bear no relation to the size of the modern British traveller.

The Sunday Times reveals that the new trains will have more generous leg-room and wider seats to accommodate another feature of many of today's passengers: their expanding girth.