Rivals plan to spoil Rupert Murdoch's new sunrise


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The Independent Online

Another new red top could soon be rivalling the Sunday edition of The Sun, which launches this weekend. The former Sunday Express editor, Susan Douglas, has financial backing for a new tabloid based on the mass appeal of the News of the World before the phone-hacking scandal. It would inevitably compete directly with Rupert Murdoch's new tabloid, The Sun on Sunday.

Scores of former News of the World journalists remain out of work, and Ms Douglas's team is believed to have reached the stage of drawing up wish-lists of high-profile columnists who might feature in a new paper. "The launch of the Sunday edition of The Sun brings alive the future of tabloid journalism and there's everything to play for," she said last night.

Mr Murdoch signalled a price war yesterday when he tweeted that his new publication would sell at cut price. "Regular Sunday price for The Sun only 50p... and Saturday's Sun going down to 50p too! Great news for readers and the economy."

The Sunday edition of The Scottish Sun is widely expected to mark its arrival by announcing its support for Scottish independence. The paper backed the Scottish National Party at last year's Scottish Parliament elections but did not back independence. But recent Twitter messages from Rupert Murdoch, in which he has expressed his admiration for the SNP leader, Alex Salmond, have prompted speculation that the newspaper will go one step further and win a publicity coup for his new paper in the process.

Last week Mr Murdoch tweeted: "Alex Salmond clearly most brilliant politician in UK. Gave Cameron back of his hand this week. Loved by Scots." A day later, in an apparent signal that he supported Scottish independence, Mr Murdoch followed up with: "Let Scotland go and compete. Everyone would win."

Giving the backing of the best-selling Scottish daily paper to Scottish independence would be a classic Murdoch manoeuvre, reminding the main Westminster parties of his power and taking revenge for the way they humiliated him in Parliament over the phone-hacking scandal.