Newspaper headlines: May's 'Spider Man' and MP scandals

By BBC News

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image captionGavin Williamson has replaced Sir Michael Fallon as defence secretary

The controversial appointment of Gavin Williamson as the new defence secretary is the main story for most of Friday's newspapers.

"Tory anger at May reshuffle" is the headline for the i, whilst the Times has: "May under fire as key ally gets defence job".

The Independent website says much of the dismay is focused on the fact that Mr Williamson has no experience in connection with the military, let alone running a major government department, whilst the Daily Telegraph says Theresa May overlooked several ministers with far more experience.

According to the Financial Times, anger at Mr Williamson stems partly from the belief that as Chief Whip, he helped orchestrate the departure of his predecessor, Sir Michael Fallon, and then took advantage of it.

The man portrayed as Sir Michael's assassin - the i says - had looked at the vacancy, interviewed himself and declared himself up to the task.

The Daily Telegraph says some MPs suggest that the prime minister has brought one of her closest allies into the Cabinet so that he will be in a position to succeed her after Brexit.

The Spectator website says that even those who consider themselves his friends feel that moving a man with no departmental experience to one of the most senior jobs in government says much more about Mrs May's weakness as a leader than it does about Mr Williamson's suitability for the role.

The Sun quotes a "livid" minister as saying: "She is so weak she has let Gavin Williamson appoint himself defence secretary. This is appalling. She has to go."

Fallon allegations

The Daily Mail and the Sun lead with a claim that Sir Michael Fallon was forced to resign after the Leader of the Commons, Andrea Leadsom, complained that he used vile language towards her at a meeting six years ago.

According to the Sun, she had told him she had cold hands, to which he responded: "I know where you can put them to warm them up."

A source close to Sir Michael tells the paper he may have said something that Mrs Leadsom was offended by, but he categorically denies saying something as appalling as has been suggested.

Mrs Leadsom has declined to comment.

The news that the Home Office has lost track of 56,000 foreign nationals - including convicted criminals and illegal immigrants - sparks incredulity.

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image captionThe Home Office has come under fire in some of Friday's papers

It is the lead for the Daily Express, which describes the affair as another shambolic mess from the people who are supposed to be keeping this country safe.

The Sun says it is 11 years since the Labour Home Secretary, John Reid, declared the Home Office's immigration systems not fit for purpose - and it's clear nothing has changed.

The first rise in interest rates in more than a decade makes the lead for the Financial Times. But the paper suggests that fewer households will be immediately affected than was the case with previous rate increases.

It says fewer people now own their homes and those that do are more likely to own outright. Three-fifths of mortgages are now fixed rate rather than variable, it adds.

But the Daily Mail accuses the banks of "hammering" borrowers and doing nothing for "long-suffering" savers.