Newspaper review: Leaders praised over Thatcher debate


Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband are widely praised for striking the right tone during Wednesday's parliamentary debate on Baroness Thatcher.

The Guardian says the prime minister avoided polarising the country by being carefully bipartisan, as well as praising Lady Thatcher's achievements.

The paper believes the Labour leader "acquitted himself splendidly" while the Independent says it was "a statesmanlike performance" by Mr Miliband and the Daily Express conceded he "deserves credit".

The Daily Telegraph talks of "two fine speeches that were equally and admirably gracious".

The Sun is less complimentary about the 150 Labour MPs who stayed away from the Commons on Wednesday.

Its front page photograph of empty green leather on the opposition benches is headlined: "Spot the leftie."

The paper lists the excuses given for not attending, including one from Bassetlaw MP John Mann who said he had to be at the dentist.

'Shadowy' group

The Daily Mirror takes pride in "the great no show", saying Labour politicians delivered "a massive snub" to Lady Thatcher.

Recalling Parliament was "an irresponsible use of taxpayers' cash", the paper believes.

The Daily Mail reports that anarchists are plotting to wreck Lady Thatcher's funeral next week.

The paper says activists - including members of the "shadowy" Black Bloc group - plan to hang an effigy of the former prime minister in Trafalgar Square.

The Daily Express says the police have a battle on their hands to stop "the sick Maggie hate mob".

Elsewhere, the Financial Times has carried out an "austerity audit" and the results are not good news for the north.

The paper says cuts to welfare payments will hit the local economies of northern towns and cities up to five times harder than the Conservative heartlands in the south.

The paper calculates that welfare changes will take £19bn a year out of working-age social security by 2015.

According to the FT, Blackpool is among the places hit hardest while Cambridge gets off more lightly.

Frowned upon

The Daily Mail features the headline: "How Botox jabs can make you feel depressed."

The paper says injections which partially paralyse the face in order to remove "laughter line" wrinkles also prevent women from smiling properly.

That, in turn, cuts off happy signals that would normally be sent to the brain, it reports.

However, it is not all bad news.

Cardiff University psychologist Dr Michael Lewis says botox to stop frown lines has the opposite effect.

Women who can't frown feel less depressed, he says.

Aggressive thieves

Finally, two contrasting art stories from the Times.

The paper reports that the Louvre museum, in Paris, was forced to close on Wednesday when hundreds of staff walked out in protest at inaction by the authorities to tackle an epidemic of pickpockets.

Gangs of aggressive thieves are said to be preying on tourists.

Meanwhile, in New York the Metropolitan Museum of Art is celebrating a record donation of Cubist paintings worth about £650m.

The cosmetics billionaire, Leonard Lauder, is handing over 33 Picassos, 17 Braques, 14 Legers and 14 works by Gris.

The paper says the collection will transform the New York Met into the pre-eminent place to study Cubism.

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