Newspaper review: Anti-sleaze plans mulled


After the latest lobbying allegations at Westminster, a cartoon in the Times shows members of the House of Lords with bar codes printed on their white ermine.

The paper says the scandal has engulfed the upper house but reports that peers could be expelled from Parliament under the latest proposals to clean up politics.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg uses an article in the Daily Telegraph to set out the government's plans.

He writes that the political system has long been crying out for reform and says the government is looking thoroughly at the detail of a law to create a statutory register of lobbyists.

But the Daily Mail says Mr Clegg and PM David Cameron must take their share of the blame for taking no action over the past three years, despite promising to do so in the Coalition Agreement.

Marital strife

With an attempt to derail the gay marriage bill due in the Lords, the Times publishes a letter from leading Conservatives of the Thatcher and Major eras.

The signatories - including Lord Fowler and Lord Jenkin of Roding - warn that Tories who oppose the bill are standing in the way of history.

In a rival letter to the same newspaper signed by several local party chiefs, the Conservative Grassroots organisation - which wrote a similar letter to the Sunday Telegraph - says the bill is driving away voters.

It says it stands in stark contradiction to the central Tory commitment to marriage, family and children.

Positive discrimination

The Daily Mail speaks of a "pivotal moment" in the fight against breast cancer.

It says a study has shown that taking the drug tamoxifen for 10 years - rather than the usual five - halves the risk of women dying from the most common form of the disease.

Women who live in fear of breast cancer returning may now be able to beat the disease, says the paper.

The Guardian says Scotland Yard has had discussions with the government on a radical change in race relations law to allow positive discrimination in the recruitment of officers.

The paper says the growth of London's ethnic minority populations makes the gap between the police ranks and those they serve wider than ever.

Broadly speaking, the plans would mean that a white officer could be recruited only if an ethnic minority candidate could be taken on at the same time.

Who next?

The Times says an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs has resulted in nine companies being forced to pay almost £200,000, in total, to interns who worked without payment.

Officials are said to be alarmed by the number of firms recruiting young people to work for nothing.

The Daily Telegraph says the next reinvention of Doctor Who has taken on extra significance with growing calls for the new Time Lord to be a woman.

There are claims in various papers that women in line for the Tardis include Dame Helen Mirren, Joanna Lumley, Ruth Jones and Miranda Hart.

The speculation is even the subject of a leader column in the Times.

The paper says the laws of the Doctor's regeneration are "a bit like the British constitution - unwritten and a little mysterious".

But, in the paper's words, "that allows the Doctor scope to reinvent herself however she likes".

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