The ongoing expenses scandal in the UK is on the front page of most British papers. Gordon Brown has been asked to pay back over £12,000 and has asked all MPs to comply with repayments in order to bring closure to the affair.
You can see the international pres review with James Creedon every weekday morning at 9.10am, Paris time.
Unedited television script
The expenses scandal seems to be never-ending in the UK. The front pages of several British papers announce that Gordon Brown has been asked to repay over £12,000 to the exchequer. The Guardian says that the Prime Minister issued a personal minute to all ministers last night calling on them to follow his lead and reject the “old discredited regime”. “We cannot have closure on this until we deal with this,” he said. This is all part of news expenses rules drawn up by Sir Thomas Legg who was called in by Brown to audit claims by all MPs.
The Independent underlines that Brown is not alone, saying, “They’re all in it together”. Senior figures in all three main parties were dragged into the net, the paper notes. David Cameron was been asked to provide copies of his mortgage interest payments while the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was asked to repay £910 for gardening costs.
Several MPs are complaining that Sir Thomas Legg “moved the goalposts” after the event.
Elsewhere, the Independent wonders if the process is somewhat unfair. “On one level the answer is yes. It is now clear that MPs were actively encouraged by the Commons Fee Office to maximize their expenses claims. The entire system, not just individual MPs’ behaviour, was rotten.”
Other stories in today’s international press review:
London Evening Standard
The London Evening Standard will become a free newspaper as of today. The decision was taken by its new owner, the Russian billionaire, Alexander Lebedev.
“This time, the hawks are French,” writes John Vinocur. The article says that France’s nuclear non-proliferation experts are arguing that the US is selling out over Iran. They argue that similar concessions with North Korea only led to further nuclear and ballistic missile tests. Why this so-called French hawkishness, asks Vinacour. He says that France’s great levers of international influence – its status as a nuclear power and its membership of the UN Security Council – are best defended by visibly aggressive adherence to the global nuclear nonproliferation treaties that Iran is violating.
Oddly though, according to a German Marshall Fund poll, French public opinion on the President’s handling of Iran is 14% higher than what Americans accord him.
“I found Stephen dead and I woke his husband.” The very sorry details of the death of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately are beginning to emerge. The 33-year-old Boyzone singer died in his sleep after consuming – it appears – a lot of alcohol while on holiday in Majorca. However, it was his partner’s lover who found him. Georgi Dohev had accompanied Gately’s gay partner Andy Cowles, to their apartment in the island’s capital. Hours later he emerged from the bedroom to find Gately dead on the couple’s sofa, his “pale and cold” body crouched in a mysterious prayer position, says the Sun.
The paper remembers Stephen Gately, a native Dubliner, who “made it OK to be gay and live in limelight.”