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The Papers: PM ‘warned on Brexit deal’, and virus ‘alert’

The Papers: PM 'warned on Brexit deal', and virus 'alert' thumbnail

By BBC NewsStaffPublishedduration29 minutes agoimage captionBoris Johnson was warned by the civil service in January that the government’s Brexit deal would leave Brussels able to claim jurisdiction over large amounts of UK state aid policy at the end of the transition period, the Financial Times Weekend reports. The PM is planning to override part of…

By BBC News

Staff

Published

image captionBoris Johnson was warned by the civil service in January that the government’s Brexit deal would leave Brussels able to claim jurisdiction over large amounts of UK state aid policy at the end of the transition period, the Financial Times Weekend reports. The PM is planning to override part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement. Meanwhile, the R number is as high as 1.7, the paper adds, with the pace of coronavirus infections across the UK returning to levels not seen since May. The number of positive cases is doubling every seven to eight days, according to analysis by Imperial College London and Ipsos Mori.
image captionThe PM has written in the Daily Telegraph to defend his aim to alter the Brexit divorce deal, accusing the European Union of threatening to impose a food “blockade” in the Irish Sea. Mr Johnson said Tory rebel MPs must get into line, arguing that he is trying to protect Britain from handing Brussels the “power to carve up our country”. Also on the front page is a report that Michael Gove and Matt Hancock were the only two Cabinet ministers to argue for the new six people rule on social gatherings, with other senior ministers favouring upping the limit to eight.
image captionWith cases doubling in a week and the crucial R rate going above one, the Daily Mirror leads with “Virus alert” on its front page. The paper says “fresh crackdowns loom”, with fears Liverpool could be the next city to see restrictions introduced. Labour has accused ministers of creating a “fiasco” in testing.
image caption“Save our children’s Christmas” is the headline on the front of the Daily Mail. Citing its own poll, the Mail says four-in-10 support a government U-turn on the rule of six policy, with calls for children to be exempt from the rule in England. Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the rule in Scotland and Wales, and Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, has called on the PM to follow suit.
image captionThe Daily Star dubs new coronavirus marshals “Duds army”. The paper questions what powers the new “Covid marshals” will actually have from Monday when the new rule of six comes into force, with fears they will prove “powerless busybodies and laughing stocks”.
image captionThe PM is drawing up plans to fine those who breach self-isolation rules after evidence suggested people were ignoring advice and leaving their homes, according to The Times. The move is expected to mirror quarantine measures for those returning from holidays, where travellers are required to isolate for 14 days. The paper adds that ministers are also considering plans for a hotline where people can report to the police those who are breaking quarantine rules.
image captionArmy medics are expected to help administer the “biggest vaccination push in British history”, the i weekend reports. Tens of millions of coronavirus injections cannot be delivered by GPs and chemists, the paper adds, and the military is in talks with the NHS to help deliver injections.
image captionAnd the PM’s trade negotiators are confident that Britain will thrive outside the EU, according to the Daily Express. A “historic” trade deal, to the tune of £15bn, has been struck with Japan, with “good progress” reportedly being made in reaching agreements with the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, the paper adds.

The Daily Telegraph leads on Boris Johnson’s opinion piece.

“EU a threat to the integrity of the UK” is its summary of the PM’s view.

It details how Mr Johnson mounts a robust defence of alterations to the Brexit divorce deal, and appeals again to Tory MPs not to stage a rebellion.

Its leader column reserves judgment, noting there is “a fine line between liberty and legality” and that the two main issues of the year – Brexit and Covid – have muddled an administration in favour of “live and let live”, but responsible for unprecedented restrictions of personal freedoms.

The Financial Times claims Mr Johnson was explicitly warned months ago about the implications of the Brexit deal.

It says it has seen a briefing document given to the government in January, which detailed the impact on UK sovereignty.

The Daily Express hails the securing of what it describes as a “historic” first trade deal with Japan as proof that Britain will thrive outside the EU.

The International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, tells the paper it is “just the start” with officials suggesting “good progress” is also being made in discussions with Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA.

Growing concern about the rise in the coronavirus R rate is reflected on many of the front pages.

“Virus Alert” is the Daily Mirror’s headline – as it suggests Liverpool could be next to go into lockdown.

The Times reports the government is drawing up plans to fine anyone breaching self isolation rules, after evidence showed advice was being widely flouted.

The Daily Mail’s focus is its own poll showing 40% of respondents want a U-turn on the “rule of six”.

And there is widespread coverage of the modest celebrations of the first jackpot winner in 14 years for the quiz Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, after the show aired last night.

The Times reports that history teacher, Donald Fear, whisked his wife away on holiday… to a caravan in Whitley Bay.

The Sun says the father of four will give most of his million away, but that he is planning to splash out on a brand new motor home.

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