Jeremy Corbyn is facing a mutiny from his party, according to the Daily Telegraph, following a direct challenge to his authority by senior Labour figures.
Former Cabinet ministers including Charles Clarke and Bob Ainsworth are said to have “publicly dared Mr Corbyn to expel them”, after they – like Alastair Campbell – admitted voting for other parties in the European elections. The former Home Office minister, Fiona Mactaggart, is quoted as saying “it is time for all of us to declare; I am Spartacus”.
The paper says Mr Corbyn must now decide whether to expel those who have spoken out – and risk similar admissions from other Labour members – or climb down over the decision to throw Mr Campbell out of the party for voting Liberal Democrat.
The front page of the Daily Mail highlights what it calls the “potentially explosive intervention” into Labour’s anti-Semitism crisis by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
According to the paper, the decision to launch a formal inquiry into whether Labour victimised Jews made Tuesday “one of the most shameful days in the party’s history”.
Several leader columns are highly critical of Labour, in the wake of the decision by the EHRC to launch that formal inquiry.
According to The Times, Labour’s leadership ought to feel shame at the disgrace of being investigated, “but instead exhibit nothing but self-righteous moral certainty”.
There is, it says, a marked contrast between the alacrity with which Alastair Campbell has been thrown out of the party for voting Lib Dem, and the glacial pace at which allegations of anti-Semitism are dealt with.
‘The Party’s over”
The Daily Mail agrees, arguing it’s “degrading” that a party with a proud history of fighting bigotry “should sink so low”.
Asking “how can decent people stomach Labour anymore?”, the Sun’s leader column points out that only once before has the racism watchdog investigated a political party – and that was the BNP. “That’s how far the once great Labour party has sunk”, it says. “For the moderates, the Party’s over”.
The Daily Mirror reports that Jeremy Corbyn is “poised” to support a second referendum with senior Labour figures saying he could announce his backing “within days”. According to the paper’s editorial, the move “must now be inevitable”, given the number of votes the party lost to the Lib Dems and Greens in the European elections.
A Conservative leadership contender, Esther McVey, has told the Daily Telegraph that the only way to deliver the referendum result is to “actively embrace” leaving without a deal.
The former minister argues that plans to renegotiate with the EU are a waste of time and says “political suicide” lies in failing to secure a clean break with Brussels.
The Times says Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is losing support to Environment Secretary Michael Gove in the Conservative leadership race “because MPs believe he is flip-flopping on a no-deal Brexit”.
Mr Hunt is said to have “infuriated” Brexiteers who were considering him as a “safer” alternative to Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab – by warning that no-deal would be suicide for the Tories, after previously saying he would choose no-deal over no-Brexit. An unnamed former Cabinet minister has told the paper that Mr Gove “is the coming figure for centrist MPs”.
Another leadership contender, Sajid Javid, has set his stall out in the Sun – pledging to recruit an extra 20,000 police officers, and put bobbies on the beat “in every corner of the country”.
The home secretary tells the paper he’s been fighting for more officers for the past year – and would put the money in to make it happen as prime minister.
“More police on the beat means less crime on the streets”, he writes – prompting the Sun to suggest he is “flatly contradicting” Theresa May, after she “repeatedly denied funding cuts are to blame for the rise in serious violence”.
John Bercow’s pledge to stay on as Commons Speaker – despite previous expectations that he would leave the post this summer – is highlighted by the Guardian.
It thinks the clarification of his position “will enrage” hard-line Eurosceptics who believe he wants to thwart a no-deal Brexit – and be seen as a rebuke to Conservative leadership hopefuls such as Boris Johnson, who have said Britain must leave the EU by the end of October “no matter what”.
The Daily Telegraph says the outgoing victims’ commissioner is calling on courts and judges to be “more honest” about the length of sentences offenders will serve.
Lady Newlove is said to be concerned victims are losing confidence in the justice system, because they see “misleading” headline sentences, instead of being given a “realistic assessment” of how long a criminal will spend in jail.
The paper says her intervention comes amid calls for a rethink of early release and it suggests the Justice Secretary, David Gauke, “needs to address” the issue, as he attempts to reduce the prison population.
According to the paper’s radio reviewer, Charlotte Runcie, the Free Thinking programme was “the scene of a bloody intellectual routing” – as its presenter, Matthew Sweet, argued Wolf had misunderstood a historical legal term, leading her to incorrectly identify cases in which she claimed gay men had been executed in Victorian England for sodomy.
Her thesis was disintegrating in real time, writes Runcie, creating “fist-chewing radio”. Speaking afterwards at the Hay Festival, the author is said to have told fans to “hang on to your early edition copies – because they’ll be collectors’ items”.
Finally, the Daily Telegraph features a warning that Britain’s oldest tree could be dead in 50 years – because tourists steal branches to keep as souvenirs.
Campaigners have warned that the Fortingall Yew in Perthshire has been “stressed” by visitors, even though it’s surrounded by a cage for protection.
In a bid to keep the 5,000-year-old tree alive, seedlings from the yew are to be planted at various locations across Scotland, including at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.