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Paper review: May ‘gets backing’ for Syria action

April 12, 2018
Image caption Friday’s papers continue to look at possible military action from Western forces after an alleged chemical attack in Syria. Many discuss Theresa May’s meeting with her cabinet on Thursday as she talked with ministers about whether to join any strikes by the US and France. The Metro uses the headline ‘Council of War’ and repeats unconfirmed reports that Mrs May has ordered the Royal Navy to prepare.
Image caption The Guardian says that the “path is clear” for military action, claiming Mrs May has the “unanimous backing” of her government to join allies in strikes after the two-hour meeting. It quotes a Downing Street spokesman as saying senior ministers agreed it was “highly likely” Syria was behind the attack in Douma, which killed dozens, including children.
Image caption The i also leads with the cabinet meeting, reporting a statement from the government that says they agreed the use of chemical weapons “must be challenged”. The paper reports that French President Emmanuel Macron has said he has seen proof the attack in Syria used chlorine gas. It also says that Russia has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
Image caption The Daily Mail says the political row over whether Mrs May could join strikes without getting the go-ahead from parliament is continuing in Westminster. It reports Tory MP Ken Clarke demanded that MPs be consulted, following similar calls from Labour and Lib Dem leaders. The paper also claims defences around the RAF base in Cyprus had been strengthened.
Image caption The Times claims the biggest US task force since Iraq in 2003 is on course for Syria. The paper says strikes on the country are expected within three days and that the US is amassing 10 warships and two submarines in the region, with a further three destroyers close by.
Image caption The Daily Mirror leads on Sir Cliff Richard who is suing the BBC over coverage of a police raid on his home. The paper said the news reports left the singer’s reputation “in shreds” after his apartment had been searched following a claim of historical sexual abuse. Sir Cliff was never charged with any offence. The BBC says its coverage in August 2014 was in the public interest.
Image caption The Sun also reports on Sir Cliff’s court case, describing the live footage shown by the BBC of his apartment. The paper says the law suit could cost the BBC up to £4m.
Image caption The Daily Telegraph reports on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt breaking rules brought in by his government when he set up a company to buy seven luxury flats. The paper says he failed to declare his 50% interest in the firm to Companies House, and also failed to disclose his interest on the parliamentary register of members’ interests within the required 28 days. Mr Hunt corrected the errors and on Thursday he apologised, accepting the mistakes were “his responsibility”.
Image caption English councils are facing a “cash crunch”, according to the front of the Financial Times. The paper says that nearly half of the country’s local authorities had run down their financial reserves in the past two years, with many struggling to cope with “a pincer movement” of cuts to central government funding and rising social care costs.
Image caption The Daily Express is blaming an “obesity crisis” in the UK on advice from the NHS. The paper quotes a trio of leading medics as saying decades of eating carbohydrates on the advice of doctors had led to the issue.
Daily star
Image caption The Daily Star leads on a police clampdown on drinking at the Grand National this weekend. The paper says the force will be taking a “zero tolerance” approach to drunken racegoers, but revellers have dubbed them “killjoys”.

The prospect of military action in Syria again receives widespread coverage and provides the lead for several of Friday’s papers.

According to the Times, the largest US air and naval strike force since the Iraq war is heading towards the country, and US-led air strikes are expected within the next three days.

The paper says the fallout from the suspected chemical attack has brought the most dangerous stand-off between Russia and the West of modern times.

Image copyrightPA
Image caption A decision has yet to be made as to whether British forces will join any attacks against Syria

The Guardian, the Daily Mail and the i focus on Theresa May’s cabinet backing action, with the Mail’s headline reading: “Missiles at the ready.”

The Sun is one of several papers to report that the White House has provisionally selected eight targets – including two airfields, a research centre and a chemical weapons facility.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Moscow expects allied forces to reveal their location in advance, in order to avoid bloodshed and restrict damage to legitimate military assets.

The Washington Post says analysts in Russia believe the focus is now on ways to ensure that any strikes are limited so that they don’t kill Russians – allowing Moscow to refrain from carrying out its threats to retaliate.

Rising costs for councils

The Financial Times leads on the results of its own study suggesting that nearly half of councils in England have run down their financial reserves in the past two years.

It says many are struggling to cope with “a pincer movement” of cuts to central government funding and rising social care costs.

According to the paper, the remaining authorities increased their reserves, but these were mostly smaller district councils that do not manage social care.

Image copyrightEPA
Image caption Sir Cliff Richard suing the BBC has made a number of Friday’s papers as the court case begins

The start of legal action by Sir Cliff Richard against the BBC for the reporting of a police search at his flat in Berkshire four years ago is widely reported.

It makes the lead for the Daily Mirror and the Sun, with the latter claiming the case could cost the corporation up to £4m.

Runners and riders

The Daily Telegraph says Saturday’s Grand National could be like no other seen in the past three decades.

For the first time since 1988, three female jockeys will be among the 40 riders – and for the first time ever, all three will be on good horses.

It asks, could Katie Walsh, Rachael Blackmore or Bryony Frost become the first female jockey to take home the more than £550,000 prize for first place?

Village ‘on the up’

And it seems it is not just the property prices that are rising in the mid-Devon village of Willand – but the buildings too.

The Daily Mail reports that geologists have discovered the village is rising by 2cm a year – but can’t explain why.

According to the Sun, experts say the village is like a dome, rising faster in the middle than the sides.

One expert tells the Daily Telegraph this phenomenon is generally seen in areas where there have been mining works and the pumps have been switched off, allowing the water to gradually seep back into the ground.

But, he adds, Willand is in the middle of nowhere and they have no idea what’s going on.

It is, the Sun says, a village on the up.