Newspaper headlines: David Cameron book claims examined, Hinkley concerns, NHS 'exodus', VW recall

Claims made in the new biography about David Cameron attract front page headlines in several papers.

The Daily Mail, which is serialising the book by Lord Ashcroft for a second day, says the prime minister's leadership record is torn apart by a former UK defence chief, Tory grandees and White House officials.

It says the book Call Me Dave, co-authored by journalist Isabel Oakeshott, raises "hugely disturbing questions" about the prime minister's approach to military action.

Mr Cameron's defence strategy, including his intervention in Libya, is said to come under the spotlight. And there it is reported to reveal the US astonishment at the government's failure in 2013 to win a vote for military action against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

Other papers catch up on the earlier allegations.

Image copyright PA/Reuters
Image caption Call Me Dave was penned by Lord Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott

The Sun reports that the "hunt is on" for the MP said to have leaked claims concerning Mr Cameron's alleged participation in a student initiation ceremony involving a dead pig while at Oxford University in the 1980s. But the Times, says the "sensational" allegations were unravelling after the authors admitted they had failed to corroborate the story.

The Guardian focuses on questions now being raised by Labour and the SNP over claims in the book that the prime minister misled the public before the 2010 election about his knowledge of former party donor Lord Ashcroft's non-domiciled tax status.

The Daily Mirror acknowledges that this is "potentially the more damaging claim" and says the PM has "serious questions to answer".

The Independent's Whitehall editor Oliver Wright sifts through the claims in Call Me Dave and ponders "what is true, what is speculation and how much is just an old political friend turned vehement foe".

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, James Kirkup agrees the extracts published to date raise more questions than they answer but says they would have been so much more damaging had Mr Cameron failed to secure a majority at the general election in May.

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Hinkley concerns

A planned £2bn investment by China in the UK's Hinkley Point C nuclear power station sparks debate.

The funding was announced by chancellor George Osborne on a visit to Beijing and is being guaranteed by the government.

Writing in the Financial Times, former BP executive and Downing Street advisor Nick Butler, questions the reasoning for securing the investment in EDF's £24bn "failing project".

Image copyright EDF

The agreement also worries the Times, which says in its leader column that the government is "neglecting China's potential to disrupt national security".

"We must avoid sleepwalking into commercial dependency on Chinese companies that are quasi-state owned," adds the paper.

For the Guardian, smaller modular nuclear reactors could be the future. Hinkley C is "looking more and more like a bum deal," it says. "Overpriced, overcomplicated and overdue... In the past few years it has looked less and less like the next generation in clean energy."

Daily Express political commentator Ross Clark believes the Climate Change Act has resulted in Britain "embarking on a policy of reducing carbon emissions at any cost" resulting in "poor value for money projects" such as Hinkley.

The Sun, however, says pressure from the green lobby encouraged successive governments to stop planning properly for the future about 20 years ago and nuclear - as well as fracking is now the "smart option".

What the commentators say...

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Media captionFormer Conservative MP and corporate advisor Angela Knight and the columnist for the Independent, John Rentoul, join the BBC News Channel to review Tuesday's front pages.

'Message to doctors'

The lead story in the Independent says the government's decision to impose a new contract on junior doctors in England may risk an exodus of young medics.

Image copyright PA

Figures reveal an unprecedented spike in NHS doctors registering to work overseas the day after the new contract was confirmed when their union, the British Medical Association, refused to return to negotiations, says the paper.

The numbers could surpass the 5,163 registrations in 2012, says the paper. Australia, New Zealand and Canada are said to be among the most popular destinations for British doctors.

The government and NHS Employers say their new contract will reward doctors who take on more responsibility and work the most unsocial hours, but the BMA contends many will find themselves worse off.

And in a letter to the Times, Dr Andrew Collier and Dr Kitty Morgan of the BMA's junior doctors committee say: "By forcing through these changes the government is sending a clear message that it does not value junior doctors".

End of the road?

Volkswagen's admission to rigging emissions tests on some of its diesel engine vehicles in the US prompts speculation about the potential long-term impact.

Image copyright Reuters

According to the Financial Times the allegations threaten to plunge the carmarker, which has initiated a US recall and saw its shares drop nearly 20% on Monday, into its "biggest crisis in a generation".

The FT adds: "As well as posing harsh questions of its governance, VW's alleged misconduct draws uncomfortable attention to the technological future of diesel."

The Daily Telegraph says if other manufacturers are drawn in millions of Britons could find they are driving cars which are masking dangerous and illegal levels of emissions.

In a leader column, the Telegraph says: "Much of this country's economy still runs on diesel. It is vital that we know as soon as possible whether this really is the end of the road."

In the Guardian, Greg Archer, a former government adviser and head of clean vehicles at the Transport and Environment think tank, raises the possibility that the probe could also spread into petrol cars and their CO2 levels.

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