Sunday Papers: Costa Concordia Pushes Scotland Off The Front Page

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The cruise ship disaster in Italy has pushed politics off the front pages
The cruise ship disaster in Italy has pushed politics off the front pages

"It was like the Titanic" is the quote many of the Sunday tabloids have seized on, as images of the striken Costa Concordia off the coast of Italy dominate the front pages. The papers are hedging their bets that the death toll in the cruise ship disaster could rise quite significantly, but given the ship's close proximity to land when it turned on its side, it's very much a case of the pictures telling the story. One particularly striking image from the Mail on Sunday shows a peaceful Italian seaside village scene interrupted by by the unlikely sight of the massive cruise liner on its side in the bay off the Isola del Giglio.

The Sunday Mirror details the "hour of panic" on board the ship as passengers struggled to get to lifeboats - amid claims the Captain took far too long to give the order to abandon ship.

The disaster has pushed politics off the front pages of many of the newspapers, but the divisive issues of Scottish Independence and HS2 aren't far from the top of the agenda, still. In an embarrassment for welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan, the Sunday Telegraph discloses she sold her house not far from the expected route of the high speed line in her constituency seat of Amersham, not long before the project was given the green light by transport secretary Justine Greening. Although buried further down in the story is the counter-claim that the house was sold for 20 percent below the asking price having been on the market for 18 months.

HuffPostUK suspects quite a few vendors along the HS2 route will find themselves in a similar position in the coming years, but it all adds to pressure on Gillan to resign - she did threaten to if HS2 went ahead, and it's not clear whether the decision to put a large tunnel into the Buckinghamshire stretch has done enough to placate her.

Cheryl Gillan isn't the only senior politician to have their financial affairs under the spotlight this Sunday. The Sunday Times is claiming that former ministers, peers and ex-government officials are concealing their business interests by setting up as consultants to work for private clients (£). The point is that many of these clients are people the ministers met while in office, prompting questions about what was discussed on the taxpayer's time.

Scotland stories are to be found in abundance. The opinion poll in the Sunday Telegraph is fascinating, suggesting more English people want the Scots to go their own way than Scottish. Alastair Darling is interviewed in the Observer suggesting that independence would be an economic disaster for Scotland, while Tory MP Dominic Raab writes in the Sunday Telegraph that so called "Devomax" - full fiscal autonomy for Scotland - could now be the last, best hope of keeping the union intact .

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