Russia’s relationship with the West once again leads some – but not all – of Saturday’s front pages.
Instead The Times leads with its interview with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, in which she makes a connection between social media and violent crimes committed by children. Ms Dick expresses concern about the “increasingly abusive” language used online and warns that the forum allows “a conversation of a ‘show-off’ sort that involves violence”. The mother of a stabbing victim agrees, telling the paper that young people are being “brainwashed”, “living their life, gaining their experiences and knowledge from a phone screen”.
The gender pay gap is the Guardian’s top story after the deadline passed for public sector bodies to report theirs on Friday night. According to the newspaper, nine out of 10 public sector organisations pay men higher salaries, with women receiving 14% less than men on average. It reports that female staff at one hospital trust in West Sussex were found to take home 59p for every £1 paid to male colleagues. In its coverage, the Financial Times says it is essential that companies are spurred on to make “genuine, long-term efforts to reduce disparities” and encourage a more equal sharing of family responsibilities – but stresses it is “unlikely without action from government”.
The Financial Times’ front page carries a story reporting the planned takeover of the engineering giant GKN could be challenged by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. It reports that the deal is coming under renewed scrutiny from Mr Williamson, although it points out that “most analysts, as well as many in Whitehall, believe there are scant grounds for a national security referral”.
The Daily Telegraph leads with comments from Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey who called for more teenagers to take on Saturday jobs to help build a “resilient workforce” after Brexit. She tells the paper that many young people lack the “soft skills” needed for the workplace such as good timekeeping and the ability to detach from their phones. In its editorial, the paper welcomes her idea but suggests “politicians must practise what they preach”, proposing that “perhaps MPs could refresh their own employability by taking up odd jobs too, such as a paper round?”
Meanwhile, the Daily Express splashes with a photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s newest missile, nicknamed Satan 2. The i newspaper carries the latest in the Skripal spy poisoning, reporting that Russia has demanded access to Sergei Skripal’s daughter, Yulia, after it was announced she is recovering well in hospital nearly one month on from the 4 March nerve agent attack.
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Several column inches are devoted to the anti-Semitism row that continues to trouble Labour. Tony Blair addresses the issue in The Daily Telegraph in a joint article with the president of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor. They argue that “we can’t sit back and let extremism and intolerance become an accepted part of public discourse”. The Guardian columnist Marina Hyde, meanwhile, suggests Mr Blair and Mr Corbyn are “not so very different”, sharing an “unshakeable belief in one’s own moral purity”.
And the Daily Mirror reports that former England footballer Ray Wilkins is in an induced coma after suffering a cardiac arrest and a fall at home. His wife, Jackie, tells the paper he is critically ill.