Today’s news summary – Paper Talk: Nicola Sturgeon denies independence drove Covid response
Thursday’s front pages feature images of Nicola Sturgeon who appeared at the Covid inquiry where she insisted she tried her best to steer Scotland through the pandemic. She was seen wiping away tears during the inquiry as she denied the claims put to her that her “burning desire” for independence drove her response to the pandemic.
Nicola Sturgeon accused of crocodile tears
The Guardian reports that Sturgeon has acknowledged a failure to adequately document crucial discussions related to the outbreak, addressing concerns about centralised and secretive decision-making. The Telegraph suggests the former FM has been accused of ‘crocodile tears’ picking up on the claims put to her that independence dreams drove her Covid response. The Times leads with a similar image of Sturgeon wiping tears, whilst noting she admitted to deleting WhatsApp messages.
Former Justice Minister Mike Freer, speaking to the Daily Mail, reveals his decision to step down from the Commons in the upcoming general election due to a campaign of death threats and intimidation stemming from his pro-Israel stance.
“Despite her best efforts to spin, deflect and deny, Nicola Sturgeon could not escape two glaring realities: that she led an orchestrated cover-up of her government’s actions during the pandemic and that decision-making was motivated by the SNP’s political agenda.”Douglas Ross, Scottish Conservative leader
Tories ‘back to basics’
Meanwhile, The Times highlights Home Secretary James Cleverly’s directive to senior officers to furnish “hard evidence” demonstrating their commitment to prioritising neighbourhood policing. This move comes as the Conservatives gear up to emphasise a “back to basics” policy in their election campaign.
In a related development covered by the Daily Express, Cleverly is featured as the Home Office identifies over 5,600 migrants who could potentially be included in deportation flights to Rwanda.
According to The Daily Telegraph’s front-page coverage, the former sub-postmaster at the centre of the Post Office IT scandal, inspiring a TV drama, is poised to reject what he deems a “cruel” and “derisory” compensation offer. Alan Bates asserts that the government’s agreed figure is only approximately one-sixth of his requested amount, despite earlier promises from ministers of “full and fair compensation” for all affected individuals. The government, in response, expresses willingness to engage with the legal advisors of applicants who believe they are owed more than the offered compensation.
In a significant development reported by the Financial Times, Sinn Féin celebrates an historic shift as Stormont appears set to reconvene. The paper details the UK government’s plan to revive the Northern Ireland executive, following the DUP’s agreement to restore power-sharing after a two-year impasse earlier this week.
Shifting the focus to local news, The Metro discloses that a man, fatally shot by the Met Police after breaking into a south London home armed with a crossbow, was a convicted stalker prohibited from entering the road where the incident occurred. The paper identifies Bryce Hodgson, 30, who received a 16-week suspended sentence last July and was shot on Tuesday morning while forcibly entering a residence in Surrey Quays.
Thursday’s Daily Mirror launches a campaign aimed at what it describes as a “bid to stop domestic violence killers being jailed for a decade less than other murderers”.
The Sun’s story centres on Traitors and Strictly Come Dancing star Claudia Winkleman who the tabloid claims is the subject of an ITV plot to poach the presenter from the BBC to front a new major Saturday night show. The paper says Claudia will be offered at least £500,000 to host shows on ITV as the channel tries to boost its number of female presenters.