Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 13 November 2012
All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is highlighted and underlined. In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV News and Sky News.
MacQuarrie report: BBC Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie’s report into the latest crisis facing Newsnight has found that the programme failed to complete “basic journalistic checks” before wrongly implicating a Conservative peer in the North Wales child abuse scandal. The report also found that there was confusion over who had the ultimate responsibility for the final editorial sigh-off. (Scotsman page 1, Andrew Jones in the Scotsman, Peter Jones in the Scotsman, Ewan Crawford in the Scotsman, Herald page 1, Record page 2, Times page 6, Telegraph page 4, Simon Heffer in the Mail, Guardian page 1, Courier page 14)
Entwistle pay-off: Lord Patten has defended the £450,000 pay-off awarded to the BBC’s former director general, George Entwistle as “justified and necessary” and was needed to “conclude matters quickly”. David Cameron has commented that the pay-off was hard to justify. It is reported that the BBC Trust is looking for an outsider to become the new director general. (Scotsman page 5, Herald page 6, Sun page 8, Bill Leckie in the Sun, Times page 1, Hugo Rifkind in the Times, Telegraph page 1, Tessa Jowell in the Telegraph, Express page 5, FT page 1, Janan Ganesh in the FT, Mail page 6, Max Hastings in the Mail, Guardian page 4, Courier page 14, Andrew Argo in the Courier, P&J page 12)
Lessons for Holyrood: Following George Entwistle’s appearance before the House of Commons’ culture, media and sport committee, David Maddox in the Scotsman comments that Holyrood could learn from Westminster about public scrutiny.
Maternity leave: Nick Clegg is expected to announce plans today which would allow fathers to share maternity rights with mothers from 2015. Mothers would be able to pass on their rights at their own discretion, with the pay for the father during the period would be based on the mother’s salary which companies could claim back from the Treasury. (Scotsman page 12, Herald page 3, Telegraph page 10, FT page 1)
Referendum: Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comments on Alex Salmond’s call that opponents of independence need to act responsibly.
Gas prices: A whistle blower’s claims that the big six energy companies have been manipulating the UK’s wholesale gas market are to be investigated by the Financial Services Authority. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 2, Sun page 2, Times page 21, Telegraph page 1, Mail page 21, Guardian page 1, P&J page 11)
Oil: Joan McAlpine in the Record comments on rising fuel prices facing Scotland despite our oil wealth.
High-speed rail: Nicola Sturgeon yesterday announced plans for a high-speed rail link between Edinburgh and Glasgow which could cut journey times to less than 30 minutes. The Scottish government hopes to have the route operational within 12 years. (Scotsman page 9, Herald page 10, Sun page 2, Times page 11, Colin Howden in the Times, Telegraph page 16, Express page 2, Mail page 2, Courier page 18)
Petrol prices: It is reported that George Osborne may scrap a 3p per litre increase in petrol duty due to be implemented in January. (Express page 2, Courier page 17, P&J page 16)
Aberdeen by-pass: SNP MSP Kevin Stewart has questioned whether there is a split in the Labour led coalition running Aberdeen City Council over the proposed Aberdeen by-pass. (P&J page 1)
Abu Qatada: Radical cleric and terrorism suspect Abu Qatada is due to be released from prison today after the government lost its legal battle to have him deported to Jordan. (Scotsman page 7, Herald page 5, Sun page 10, Record page 4, Times page 5, Telegraph page 1, Express page 2, Mail page 4, Guardian page 12, Courier page 19, P&J page 19)
Fine defaults: 11 fines are reportedly written off every day in Scotland, with two-thirds of defaulters having to carry out community service and the rest serving short prison sentences. (Mail page 1)
Cigarette display ban: Imperial Tobacco is challenging the Scottish government’s attempt to ban cigarette displays, through the Supreme Court in London. The company is arguing that there is no credible evidence that banning the displays cuts tobacco consumption. (Scotsman page 8, Herald page 5, Express page 10, Courier page 16)