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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 July, 2003, 07:07 GMT 08:07 UK
Hunting vote dominates papers
While the headlines talk of retreats and U-turns, the small print tells a different story about last night's Commons vote to ban hunting.

The Financial Times thinks the dramatic withdrawal of the government's compromise deal could eventually work in Tony Blair's favour.

The Guardian reckons ministers hope the vote will improve relations between the government and its backbenchers - reducing the chances of a rebellion next week on foundation hospitals.

The political sketch writers clearly enjoyed the dramatic events at Westminster.


None more so than the Daily Mail's Quentin Letts, who savours the moment when - in his words - the debate hit a tangled hedge of amendments and clauses.

No-one, he says, really had a clue what was going on, such was the extent to which procedural "jiggery-slippery" was deployed during the proceedings.

A slip of the tongue by one of the acknowledged masters of that unsung art, John Prescott, provides even more fun for the commentators this morning.

Setting out his fire service reforms on Monday, the deputy prime minister spoke of the Fire Service "Expectorate" when he meant Fire Service "Inspectorate".

Simon Carr of the Independent suggests the fire service is about to get a new way of tackling fires. They are going to spit on them until they go out.

Baffled by election

Politicians may be forgiven for mangled English - but the Daily Express believes they are duty bound to have a working grasp of the language.

It is baffled by the election, in a Manchester council ward, of an asylum seeker who speaks hardly any English. Liaqat Ali needs an interpreter to understand council business.

The paper finds it "extraordinary" that hard-pressed local taxpayers should be expected to pay for a translator.

The Sun agrees: "We salute anyone public-spirited enough to serve their fellow citizens. But there's something wrong when a councillor needs an interpreter at his side."

Ethical questions

There is widespread revulsion at the announcement that babies could be created by IVF, using the eggs taken from the ovaries of aborted children.

The new era is looming, according to the Independent, raising grave ethical questions. The Sun is horrified by what it calls a "shocking" new fertility treatment.

The Mail speaks of the nightmare prospect of a child whose biological mother was never born.

The Express says a convicted armed robber was so keen to complete a cookery course he was doing behind bars, that he confessed to a number of other violent offences, in order to have his sentence extended.

Gary Cowan, who was already serving six years at Bedford jail, will now spend another three years in prison.

'Eminem's da man!'

The Times says one of the greatest living poets has declared the controversial rap artist, Eminem, to be the saviour of modern verse.

Seamus Heaney told an audience in Norwich that Eminem's sometimes violent, homophobic and misogynistic lyrics had inspired a similar interest in poetry as the works of Bob Dylan and John Lennon.

As the Times headline puts it: Heaney says Eminem's da man!

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