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Monday, 21 May, 2001, 05:19 GMT
Paper's glee at business letter
UK newspapers
Last week it was Labour boosted by business leaders' support in a newspaper letter - this week the Tories have their turn.

The Daily Telegraph makes great play of the letter signed by more than 140 business leaders, endorsing the Conservatives' election campaign.

The letter says that "Britain is being taken in the wrong direction", and our "reputation for having an attractive tax regime, intelligent regulation and a flexible labour market is under threat".

The paper believes the letter will be "a serious embarrassment to the Labour leadership", and it points out gleefully that "Labour could drum up only 58 supporters in a similar letter in the Times last week".

Furthermore, the Telegraph says, "the businessmen who support the Tories are generally from bigger companies than those who signed up to Labour".

Tony Blair has written an article for the Sun, accusing the Conservatives of planning spending cuts of 25bn - rather than the 8bn put forward in the Tory manifesto.

Mr Blair says what he describes as the Tories' "growing black hole" would have "implications for schools and hospitals, police and pensioners".

Nothing polarises the press like a general election campaign - and Sunday's proposals by the Home Secretary, for preventing paedophiles using the internet to exploit children, get the full treatment from some of the more partisan papers.

The Labour-supporting Mirror puts Jack Straw's announcement on its front page, reporting that he "pledged one of the toughest crackdowns" on child pornography.

At the other end of the political spectrum, the Telegraph is less impressed.

It describes Mr Straw's plans as "perhaps the cheapest proposal of the election campaign".

The Times reports that the Conservative leader, William Hague, is facing criticism from within his party over his policy on Europe.

The paper says the former European Commissioner, Lord Brittan, has warned Mr Hague that he's wrong to make Europe an election issue, because it wins few votes and highlights Tory divisions.

In what the newspaper describes as a "show of open dissent from the Tory Left", Lord Brittan says Mr Hague will face similar criticism from other pro-European Tories after the election, if the Conservatives lose.

Back in the Sun, its leader column is devoted to a plea for Tony Blair and the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, to end what the paper perceives as a "war" over who should take the credit for the booming economy.

The paper has discerned an "intensifying strategy" from 10 Downing Street to seize credit from the Chancellor's residence, number 11.

But the Sun says Mr Blair and Mr Brown need each other.

"They are the Lennon and McCartney of the political world", the paper says. "Apart, they will be weaker, and we will be the poorer for it".

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21 May 01 |  Vote2001
Paper's glee at business letter
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