Newspaper headlines: Tory rebels threat and ‘no river safe to swim in’

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The Guardian

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The Guardian is the only paper to lead on the fallout from the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, where the Lib Dems took the seat from the Conservatives, reducing Boris Johnson’s working majority to one. The paper says the narrow majority in the Commons poses a “grave threat” to the prime minister, as it means Tory rebels could vote against the government “to foil Brexit”. One Tory MP, Phillip Lee, told the paper he was not alone among colleagues considering defecting or resigning if the government pursued a no-deal Brexit. “There are a number of colleagues who are spending the summer reflecting,” he says.

The Times

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The Times has published the results of its own investigation into the state of England’s rivers. It says dangerous pollutants in the water have reached their highest levels since modern testing began, and 86% of rivers fall short of the EU’s standard of a healthy waterway. On top of that, the paper adds that rivers are not tested enough to be considered safe for swimming. The paper comes to the conclusion that no river in the country is now certified as safe to swim in.

Daily Mail

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New Home Secretary Priti Patel has spoken about the fear she wants criminals to feel, telling the Daily Mail: “I want them to literally feel terror at the thought of committing offence.” In an interview with the paper – her first since she took up her new cabinet job – she says she wants to “empower” police officers. The Mail suggests her comments signal “the return of zero-tolerance policing”.

Daily Express

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A health story leads the Daily Express. The paper reports that Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said he plans to meet the US company which makes the cystic fibrosis drug Orkambi, in the hope of agreeing a deal so people with the condition can receive it on the NHS. The paper has been following the story of the drug for a while, and has previously called for NHS England to strike a deal to make Orkambi available.

Daily Mirror

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The Daily Mirror also leads with a health story, although a less positive one. The paper reports that NHS hospitals are “crumbling”, with ceilings falling in and sewage leaks in wards. The Mirror says the government has used £4.29bn of money which had been set for repairs to instead pay for vital services, according to Commons figures. It quotes Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who says hospitals are “having to choose between fixing the roof and paying nurses”. The Department of Health said the NHS will get an extra £33.9bn a year by 2023-24.

FT Weekend

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The Financial Times leads on the fallout in the stock markets, after US President Donald Trump announced he would impose new tariffs on $300bn of Chinese imports. The paper says global markets were “rattled” and investors grew more worried about the prospects of growth, and instead “looked for the safety of bonds”. Expectations are now raised that the US Federal Reserve – which already cut its main interest rate this week – will have to cut rates further, the paper adds.

Daily Telegraph

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The Daily Telegraph has a report based on Ministry of Justice figures, which show more than 2,900 offenders being held in secure psychiatric hospitals are eligible for state benefits. The offenders – which the paper says include killers and kidnappers – are generally found to have committed serious crimes but, because of mental illness, are held in hospitals rather than prisons. This means they can claim some benefits. The Telegraph has spoken to campaigners who want the practice stopped.

The i newspaper

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Boris Johnson is being urged to make climate change his top priority, according to the i newspaper. The leaders of two key UK environmental bodies – the Environment Agency and Natural England – have called for investment in green initiatives, for example to encourage clean technology. It comes as parts of the UK have seen extreme weather events like flooding and a heatwave which are more likely in the face of climate change, the paper adds.

Daily Star

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Model Kelly Brook is on the front page of the Daily Star. The paper reports she has revealed her annoyance at how “skint” her former boyfriend, the actor Jason Statham, was when the couple first got together. She made the comments on Heart Radio on Friday morning. “Kell’s hell,” reads the headline, but the paper quickly adds that Statham now has £35m.

The Sun

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The Sun splashes with a story on Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood, who has reportedly split from his girlfriend. The paper has spoken to sources who claim to know what went on between the couple and reports the break-up is over a disagreement about signing a non-disclosure agreement.

There are a variety of stories covered on the front pages of Saturday’s newspapers.

In the wake of the Conservatives’ by-election defeat in Brecon and Radnorshire, the Guardian suggests Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s working majority of one could be wiped out as rebel Tory MPs threaten to defect or resign.

The former justice minister, Dr Phillip Lee, says he is not alone in thinking about switching to the Liberal Democrats or sitting as an independent.

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PA Media

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The Lib Dems celebrate their victory in Brecon and Radnorshire as Jane Dodds, left, was elected

Writing in the i newspaper, the Spectator’s Katy Balls says that she is not expecting the prime minister to focus much on winning around wayward MPs – and predicts that an early election is likely.

The polling expert, Sir John Curtice, cautions – through the Financial Times – that current evidence indicates the Conservatives would be at risk of losing at such an election.

The Times describes the result in Brecon as “pretty disastrous” for Labour – saying the party’s share of the vote had fallen in every by-election since the 2016 referendum.

The paper blames what it calls “Corbyn’s Brexit ambivalence”.

The Daily Mail goes further, saying Labour was “utterly humiliated”.

It suggests Mr Corbyn’s only chance of reaching Downing Street would be what it calls a “chimera coalition with the Lib Dems and the Scottish Nationalists”.

Deals between parties?

“Electoral pacts, not parties, are the future,” suggests Matthew Parris, writing in the Times, as he reflects on how the Lib Dems’ success in the by-election was assured by the agreement of Plaid Cymru and the Greens not to field any candidates.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the same paper, Nigel Farage says he is convinced that Boris Johnson will have to consider a pact with his Brexit Party – and he names some seats where he would like the Tories to stand aside.

In its leader, the Daily Telegraph also indicates that the only way the Tories can win, it believes, is to “knit the Leave coalition back together.”

But a government spokesman tells the paper that Mr Johnson has “absolutely no intention” of agreeing to any such alliance.

It is a stance backed by the Daily Express, which says in its editorial column pacts are not needed, if Brexit is delivered.

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Getty Images

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Home Secretary Priti Patel has given her first interview since taking up her new job

Meanwhile, the Mail’s main story focuses on the aims of the new Home Secretary, Priti Patel.

She tells the paper that with extra police officers, she wants criminals “to literally feel terror” at the thought of offending.

But she adopts what the Mail calls a “softer stance” on prison, promoting the idea of rehabilitating prisoners.

Ms Patel also explains her desire to restore public confidence in the immigration system, with an Australian-style points system to favour those with skills.

NHS funding

Hospitals are “falling to bits”, the Daily Mirror warns in its front page headline.

The Mirror says ceilings are falling in and sewage is leaking onto wards, because of a £6bn backlog of repairs.

The shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, blames Tory budget cuts, saying lives are at risk.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said the NHS will get an extra £33.9bn every year by 2023-24.

The FT suggests there could be an announcement as early as tomorrow on an emergency injection of between £1bn and £2bn into the NHS.

The Times reports that Downing Street aides are looking at bringing forward former prime minister Theresa May’s commitment to give the health service an extra £20bn by 2023.

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Meanwhile, the Times reveals that not a single river in England is certified as safe for swimmers.

The paper says 86% do not meet EU ecological standards, and dangerous pollutants are at their highest recorded levels.

The Telegraph reports on a warning from US President Donald Trump’s administration that Britain will not get a free trade deal, unless the government drops its new digital services tax.

The 2% tax – due to come in next April – would affect US giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook.

Several papers report on a study that suggests being socially active in your 50s and 60s may help lower the risk of developing dementia.

The Guardian explains that the researchers found that using the brain for memory and language control during social contact can build the cognitive reserves.

The Sun suggests that their findings indicate that people should go out to the pub or the bingo hall to ward off the condition.

An academic advises: “Don’t sit around on your own… go and speak to friends and engage your brain.”

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