Newspaper headlines: Arron Banks probe and 'Cameron return'

By BBC News

  • Published
Arron BanksImage source, Getty Images

Pictures of the millionaire Brexit supporter Arron Banks feature on several of the front pages following the announcement that he is being investigated for "suspected criminal offences" linked to campaign funding in the run-up to the 2016 referendum.

The Metro says that Mr Banks faces a possible prison sentence if it is proven he was not the true source of donations worth £8m to the Leave.EU movement. He has described the allegations as "ludicrous".

As the Guardian points out, "the news prompted calls from some MPs for the process of departing the EU to be suspended".

"The only legal certainty in all of this", he says, is that the UK is leaving the European Union next March. "The likelihood that these proceedings will be resolved by then is non-existent."

The Daily Mail hopes for a little more haste - demanding that the investigation is "completed both swiftly and thoroughly".

Elsewhere, the Mail says Theresa May is facing a potential "full-blown crisis" after the sports minister Tracey Crouch resigned in protest at delays to new restrictions on high-stakes betting machines.

The paper describes her resignation letter to the prime minister as "blistering", suggesting the government would have "blood on its hands" if problem gamblers lost their lives as a result of the delays.

The Daily Telegraph says Mrs May now faces the prospect of up to 35 Tory MPs rebelling against her so that she is forced to bring forward the restrictions once more.

"Questions will be asked about how this political banana skin wasn't spotted lurking on the floor", it says, "though maybe the government will simply gird its collective loins, and press on".

The Daily Express reports that more than 200 shopping centres - many of them owned by overseas private equity firms - are at risk of going bust.

Research by an asset management firm blamed a combination of soaring costs and growing competition from online retailers like Amazon. Ageing malls in smaller towns were most at risk.

'IS doctor'

Muhammad Saqib Raza left the UK in 2016 for Turkey, where he was hired for medical work he thought "would look good" on his CV. That led him to Syria, where he spent more than 18 months in IS captivity.

"I am a naïve person", he says, insisting he was the victim of "an elaborate kidnap plot".

He acknowledges parts of his story "don't make sense", but asks the British authorities to repatriate him so he can stand trial here.

"I never knew Britain might one day abandon me", he goes on. "Everyone deserves a second chance".

Meanwhile, bosses at a zoo in Kent have been accused of covering up the escape of a cheetah, according to the Daily Mirror.

Image source, Howletts Wild Animal Park

It says the animal, called Saba, squeezed through a fence at the Howletts wild animal park into a neighbouring enclosure, frightening two deer who died after stampeding into wooden railings.

The zoo said it was not required to report the incident, as the cheetah did not enter a public area.

The local council is investigating.

'Second caming'

And the Sun predicts the "second caming" of David Cameron, who is supposedly mulling over a return to frontline politics.

Image source, Getty Images

An anonymous friend of the former prime minister says boredom has set in - two years after he left Downing Street to write his memoirs - and that he would consider rejoining the Cabinet, preferably as foreign secretary, if a future Conservative leader offered him a job.

That would require Mr Cameron to rejoin Parliament - either as an MP or peer. But there's plenty of time, says the friend as "he's only 52 and still a young man".