Newspaper headlines: Trump’s ‘dirty dossier’ and the British spy who ‘rocked’ him


By BBC News Staff

Pictures of a defiant Donald Trump holding forth during his news conference on Wednesday feature on many front pages.

It was, says the Guardian, a combative performance as Mr Trump unleashed a firestorm of invective against news organisations and US intelligence agencies.

The Financial Times claims his stance escalates an already tense relationship with an intelligence leadership that believes his election was abetted by a foreign power, Russia.

The Times, the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror all lead on reports that a former MI6 agent who was based in Russia has gone into hiding after being named as the person behind the dossier of lurid claims about the president-elect. They say Christopher Steele is “terrified for his safety”, fearing retribution from Moscow.

“Oh to be a sketchwriter in America” – declares Quentin Letts in the Mail. “Mr Trump is a politician, Jim, but not as we know it,” he writes. “He doesn’t do wriggling and lawyerly evasions. He doesn’t do dainty detours or (ridiculous thought) charm. He just comes out and smashes his critics on the nose.”

Several papers highlight what they see as a rift between Theresa May and the head of the NHS in England, Simon Stevens, over funding for the health service and social care.

The Sun speaks of “open war with Number 10” after Mr Stevens fired off what it calls “a series of barbs” at the prime minister when he appeared before MPs. The paper calls it an “unhealthy spat which helps no-one” – the last thing we need, it says, is the distraction of a row as those at the top pass the buck.

The Daily Telegraph calls for the politics to be taken out of NHS funding; it argues that there must be a willingness to consider alternative ways of bringing money into the system without it being denounced as “privatising” the service.

The Telegraph reports that Lady Thatcher has taken her place in the pantheon of British greats, in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

It says the former prime minister’s life story attracts the third longest entry – with more space devoted to her than Sir Winston Churchill. Only Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth I are given a higher word count.

According to the Daily Express, the biography – written by the historian Sir David Cannadine – concludes that: “There are times when nations may need rough treatment. And for good and for ill, Thatcher gave Britain plenty of it.”

Henry VIII was well known for his lavish banquets, but now – says the Mirror – it has been revealed just how much he forked out on food and drink.

The paper reports that his annual bill for meat alone came to £3.5m in today’s money – all washed down with £6m worth of beer.



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