The issue of migration rarely strays far from the front pages and it returns to centre stage following calls from French politicians for a renegotiation of France’s border-checks agreement with the UK.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is seeking re-election, wants the 2003 Le Touquet deal that sees UK officials conducting passport checks in France – and French officials doing the same in the UK – to be ripped up, effectively pushing the UK border back across the Channel.
And Xavier Bertrand, the president of the Calais region, has called for migrants gathering in the area in the hope of securing asylum in the UK to be able to lodge their claims on French soil at “hotspots”.
“This would be a radical departure from current rules known as the Dublin Regulation, which say refugees should register in the first European country they arrive in,” the Daily Express says.
“Critics here warned the French proposal would invite a further mass influx of UK-bound migrants, adding to the 9,000 already at the infamous Jungle camp in Calais.”
‘Doomed to fail’
In an opinion piece, the paper adds: “It is essential that the French do not simply sweep the Jungle our way.
“They must play their part in dealing with the migrant crisis and must also work with the British rather than against us.”
The Daily Mail sets out six reasons why it says “this latest French ‘solution’ is doomed to fail”.
They include a warning that allowing migrants to claim asylum in Britain without crossing the Channel would “entice thousands more to Calais”.
“At present, many arriving in Europe are discouraged from trying to reach Britain because they know they cannot register claims without sneaking into England on lorries or trains,” the Mail argues.
It says British officials would be “deluged” with thousands more asylum claims, and asylum “hotspots” would breed violence.
Sue Reid, a Mail writer who has filed from Calais for 15 years, says the Jungle camp has become more “violent and anarchic” as it has grown in size.
She describes it as a “miserable home to a shabby population among which you will find everything from armed and angry men to despairing families”.
She adds: “The one thing that unites them is a steely resolve to make it to the shores of the UK. You cannot over-estimate their determination.”
On Mr Sarkozy’s plan to push border checks back to the UK, the Sun writes: “The sole result of Calais sending its illegal immigrants on to Britain for processing would be even more turning up in France.
“Once they saw it as a sure route here, they would pour in.”
Metro sums up the UK’s response to Mr Bertrand’s plan in a two-word headline: “Non, Merci!”.
A number of papers quote a Home Office source as saying that plans to renegotiate UK-French border agreements are a “complete non-starter”.
UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd will seek to “defuse” the dispute when she meets French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve for the first time later, the Financial Times reports.
The i says she is likely to seek assurances that Paris remains committed to the Le Touquet agreement amid a “growing political backlash in France against the Jungle”, an issue the paper says has moved up the agenda since Britain’s Brexit vote.
The Times says Whitehall insiders insist there is no imminent threat to the deal, but that it has become simply “caught up in the French election cycle”.
However, it adds that government sources have threatened to review security co-operation with France should it try to shift the Calais border over the Channel.
The face of actor Gene Wilder, in his guise as chocolate factory owner Willy Wonka, stares out from a number of front pages, following his death at the age of 83.
The i says he became “an idol for children” when he played the title role in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – the 1971 film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s classic.
“His portrayal of the reclusive candyman would earn him lasting fame and affection among British audiences,” it says.
The Daily Express says Wilder nearly missed the chance to play Willy Wonka, as producers had been recommended to cast either Fred Astaire or Joel Grey in the role.
But director Mel Stuart recalled: “I looked at him and I knew in my heart there could only be one person who could play Willy Wonka.”
The Times says Wilder, who also starred in Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles and Stir Crazy among others, was hailed by Hollywood stars as a “comic genius” and one of the “great talents” of his generation.
The Daily Telegraph says Wilder died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, but his family said his condition had not been announced earlier to protect fans of his most famous character from “equating Willy Wonka with an adult disease”.
“He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world,” a statement said.
Rosie and Ruby Formosa’s story of survival against the odds features on the front and inside pages.
The “excited” twins are preparing to start school next month, four years after being given only a 25% chance of survival when they were born joined at the abdomen, the Daily Telegraph says.
“There were times when I never even thought I would see this day, so for it to be here is overwhelming – it’s a really happy time,” the girls’ mother, Angela Formosa, 35, told the paper.
It explains how the girls, of Bexleyheath, south-east London, were taken to Great Ormond Street Hospital – Europe’s leading centre for the care of conjoined twins – for emergency surgery just two hours after being born.
“Their parents were warned that Rosie and Ruby were unlikely to survive the five-hour operation to separate them. But against the odds, the identical twins battled through.”
The paper adds that half of conjoined twins are stillborn, with 35% of survivors living only one day.
The vape debate
The Sun, the Daily Telegraph and the Times are among the papers to highlight suggestions that vaping could be as bad for people’s hearts as smoking.
The Sun, which leads with the story, says tests found that e-cigarettes – which deliver a nicotine hit to those trying to give up smoking – damage key blood vessels.
E-cigarettes are used by almost three million Britons, and GPs will soon be able to prescribe them to help people quit.
It quotes University of Athens Medical School professor Charalambos Viachopoulos as telling experts meeting in Rome: “E-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but they are not harmless.
“I wouldn’t recommend them now as a method to give up smoking. I think the UK has rushed into adopting this method.”
The Daily Telegraph reports that researchers, who studied 24 smokers, said a typical, 30-minute vaping session had a similar impact on stiffness of the aorta – the body’s main artery – as smoking a cigarette for five minutes.
The Times says UK experts believe the study is an important reminder that vaping is probably not harmless.
But it adds: “Public Health England estimated that [e-cigarettes] were 95% less harmful than tobacco.”
- Birmingham has been crowned the funniest city in the UK, by a study that analysed more than three million social conversations, combined with consumer research. It pipped Leeds, Cardiff, Hull and Newcastle, reports the i.
- Viewings of live video on YouTube leapt 80% in the last year as Google’s entertainment division sought to play catch-up with Facebook and Snapchat in livestreaming, the Financial Times reports.
- The carcasses of 323 reindeer littered a mountain plateau in central Norway after lightning struck 100 times in a storm, reports the Sun. Reindeer stay close to each other in bad weather, resulting in the huge death toll in this case, it says.
- Instagram photographs contain clues that the person posting them is depressed, according to research reported in the Times. Artificial intelligence designed to detect depressed people on the photo-sharing network was more accurate than doctors, according to US research quoted in the paper.