Government in Crisis: Tory papers remain on the offensive

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The Independent Online
THE front page of the Sun today typifies the attitude of the Tories' normally loyal supporters in the national press. It is blank except for a photograph of the President of the Board of Trade, with the caption: 'This page contains all that Michael Heseltine understands about the worries and fears of the ordinary working people in depression-hit Britain.'

Elsewhere there is further hostility. The Daily Mail says: 'Seldom in modern politics has there been so brutal a miscalculation of the public mood.'

The Daily Telegraph describes the announcement on pits as a humiliating climb-down. However, it says: 'The Government has adopted its only sensible course in the face of the coal debacle. Throwing dignity and intellectual coherence to the winds, it has retreated far enough to avoid defeat in the Commons.'

The Daily Express agrees, saying: 'Mr Heseltine's statement yesterday and his performance in the debate tomorrow may well save the Government from an embarrassing Commons defeat.'

But the Financial Times, beneath the headline 'A government on the run', says even Michael Heseltine cannot make a retreat look like a victory.