Newspaper headlines: 'Putin's Puppet' and Russian retaliation

Jeremy Corbyn Image copyright Reuters

The diplomatic row between Britain and Russia dominates the front pages again.

The Mirror's headline is "Cold War II". The Guardian says the UK is "braced for retaliation" from Moscow for the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats.

The Financial Times reports that Britain's response to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury is already faster and more extensive than the reaction to the murder of another former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, in London in 2006.

According to the paper, officials say they have learnt lessons from Moscow's "delaying tactics" on that occasion, when four Russian diplomats were expelled.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in 2006

The Spectator website says the prime minister's statement to MPs on Wednesday didn't contain anything particularly unexpected, given that she had already promised a robust response.

What was rather less predictable, it adds, was what was going to come from the Labour benches.

The front pages of the Mail and the Sun focus on anger on both sides of the House over Jeremy Corbyn's failure to condemn Russia for the poisonings.

The Sun's headline - "Putin's puppet" - is a Tory MP's description of the Labour leader. The Mail has the headline: "Corbyn, the Kremlin stooge".

The New Statesman website says there's no subject that divides Jeremy Corbyn and Labour MPs more than foreign policy.

"Though the party is able to broadly unite around issues such as austerity, the NHS and housing - its divisions are exposed whenever geopolitics dominates," it says.

'A political storm'

According to the Financial Times, Downing Street "is steeling itself" for an announcement from Unilever that it will choose Rotterdam over London as the site of its new unified headquarters.

It says the move threatens to "unleash a political storm" over Brexit and will "close a chapter in the Anglo-Dutch company's 130-year history in the UK".

The hope in British government circles is that the move to Rotterdam might only affect about 50 staff, in a group that employs 7,500 people in the UK, the paper says.

'Brilliant mind in a broken body'

Many pages - and in some papers, whole sections - are devoted to remembering the life and work of Stephen Hawking.

His death is the lead for the i - accompanied by the headline, "Britain's master of the universe".

It says he will perhaps be remembered best as the man with "the brilliant mind trapped in a broken body".

For the Telegraph, he was "the star who brought the cosmos within reach".

"A brilliant physicist," the Mirror says, he made the "most mind-boggling mysteries understandable".

Image copyright Getty Images

According to the Express, however, there was always one thing that he said remained a mystery to him.

The Mail says it was one area of human life for which he could find "no solution".

"It left him eternally baffled," the Sun says.

The "i" explains that when he was asked what he thought most about during the day, Professor Hawking - twice married - replied: "Women. They are a complete mystery."