BBC chair quits
The Financial Times leads on calls for politics to be removed from the process to choose the next chairman of the BBC, after Richard Sharp’s decision to stand down.
The paper says Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is under pressure to ensure that the system is “beyond reproach” and to end the practice of choosing candidates based on their political allegiances.
The FT names the current deputy chairman of the BBC, and former private equity boss, Sir Damon Buffini, as being among the leading contenders to take on the role. One City figure tells the paper he is “quite right-wing and somewhat abrasive” and that the government “loves him”.
The Guardian says Mr Sharp’s resignation gives the prime minister an “unexpected opportunity to put his stamp” on the BBC, by appointing a new chair for a four-year term.
It reports that this would make it harder for Labour to shape the national broadcaster, if it wins the next general election.
The Daily Express calls on the BBC to “silence” Gary Lineker, after the Match of the Day presenter tweeted that the BBC chairperson should no longer be selected by the government of the day.
The i newspaper reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “top mercenaries are fighting in Sudan”.
Security sources tell the paper that heavily armed troops, from the Wagner mercenary group, are near the capital, Khartoum, and in Port Sudan to secure vast gold shipments. It adds that the UK Ministry of Defence “is tracking their activity”.
The Daily Telegraph carries a warning that surgeons are operating only once every fortnight, despite huge backlogs.
In an interview with the paper, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Prof Neil Mortensen, says productivity among surgeons is being driven ever lower, as a result of staff shortages and a lack of operating theatre space.
He also says that the threat to patient safety from industrial action is “extremely concerning”.
The Daily Mail says more big names have joined its campaign to bring back VAT-free shopping for overseas tourists to boost the economy. It reports that a letter to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt – on behalf of more than 130 hospitality, retail and tourism chiefs – says the UK is, in effect, “charging 20% more than other countries do for the same goods”.
Finally, the Sun reports on what it calls “secret nuclear submarine plans” found lying on the floor of a toilet at a Wetherspoons pub in Cumbria last weekend alongside a Royal Navy lanyard.
A source tells the paper it was “quite a lively night” at the Furness Railway pub, which is a short distance from a BAE Systems shipyard.
The source adds that the pub was “packed” with military and civilian people, adding it was lucky a deep-cover Russian spy didn’t find the files. The navy said they were “generic” papers with no classified information. BBC