Prime minister Gordon Brown's Damascene conversion to presumed organ consent was, naturally, a hot topic for the press.

He made the announcement in The Sunday Telegraph, giving his backing to an overhaul of the current system - where people elect to be placed on the donor register - to one of "presumed consent" that automatically includes everyone, unless they explicitly opt out.

That left the rest of the press playing catch-up. Several had lined up transplant stories anyway on the back of this week's report from the Organ Donation Taskforce even though, as the Express pointed out, it did not deal with the consent question. "Ministers duck donor question" was the headline. Timely, that.

The Independent on Sunday ran with a special investigation that blamed binge drinking for a 76 per cent rise in the number of people needing a new liver in 10 years, along with a 55 per cent rise in the need for new kidneys.

Come Monday and The Guardian and Financial Times ran with a straight report that the PM backed a plan to move to an opt-out system.

Not so the rest of the papers. The Daily Express said there was an "outcry" at the PM's idea. His announcement came just four years after he voted against the idea, the paper said.

Over at the Mirror, presumed consent had morphed into something more sinister. "Who advises the government these days?" asked Tony Parsons in his column. "Burke and Hare? Compulsory organ donation has the whiff of grave robbing about it."

The idea got a warmer reception at The Sun. But perhaps that was because Mr Brown had spoken to the paper, about a friend who was saved by a transplant.

It made for a moving headline, too. "I saw pal nearly die waiting for heart. Donor let him live."

We'll see whether Brown's big transplant idea survives the great debate.

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