Newspaper review: Focus on Syria arms plan


The Independent says David Cameron is facing a cabinet split over plans for Britain to take a leading role in supplying arms to Syrian rebels.

The paper understands that at least five cabinet ministers have raised "serious reservations" - Nick Clegg, Chris Grayling, Justine Greening, Baroness Warsi and Ken Clarke.

They are right, the prime minister is wrong, it says. Arming the rebels is a simplistic fantasy which is distracting attention from the only sensible course - peace talks.

The Times says Labour is contemplating holding a Commons vote on arming the rebels, amid concerns that the move could unleash further instability in Syria.

After rubbishing the coalition's benefits cuts for the past three years, says the Sun, reality is finally dawning on Ed Miliband.

It describes his decision to cap welfare spending as a staggering U-turn, but a step in the right direction.

Steve Richards, writing in the Independent, sees echoes of Labour's strategy before the election in 1997.

Both Ed Miliband and Ed Balls helped shape policy en route to Labour's victory, he says.

The principle is the same now as then and so is the politics - the need to show that Labour will be tough on welfare spending.

Party backer

The Times says Policing Minister Damian Green has urged men from some ethnic minorities to change the way they view sex with under-age girls.

It says Mr Green has made clear that cultural traditions are no defence in cases where children are groomed, exploited and abused.

He made the comments after the first meeting of a task force set up to address growing concerns about the issue.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Labour has helped its biggest financial backer to avoid tax worth up to £1.5m.

John Mills tells the paper it was "tax efficient" to give the party shares in his shopping channel company JML rather than cash.

Mr Mills, a former councillor in north London, says the idea emerged during a meeting with Labour Party officials.

The paper says the news will embarrass Ed Miliband who only last month, it says, criticised Google for going to "extraordinary lengths to avoid paying its taxes".

Labour has said it has done nothing wrong - the Tories have accused them of "hypocrisy".

Bone fragments

"Brussels bid to strip London of Libor role" is the headline in the Financial Times.

It says the European Commission wants to move direct supervision of the inter-bank lending rate from London to the European Securities and Markets Authority, based in Paris.

The FT says the proposal - due to be published this summer - is likely to anger George Osborne, who has already tried to reform the system, which was subject to a fixing scandal.

Meanwhile. the Sun reports that a newly discovered dinosaur has been named Kev - after the man who found it on a beach in Dorset.

Bone fragments from the the 60-foot sea monster - full name Pliosaurus Kevani - were collected by retired cafe owner Kevan Sheehan.

Finally, the Daily Telegraph has some disheartening news about the typical British lunchbox.

Despite the explosion of interest in cookery programmes and international cuisine, research shows that millions of us eat exactly the same thing every day.

The most popular meal is a ham sandwich, closely followed by cheese.

One in eight people have the same packed lunch from Monday to Friday - and 70% of these people have been eating the same thing for as long as they can remember.

The Telegraph thinks it may not be such a bad thing because people "perhaps simply know what they like and like what they know".

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