Holiday storms and royals at Christmas in the press

Cars plough through standing water in Reigate, Surrey

"The storm that stole Christmas" is the front page headline in the Daily Telegraph, which says floods in southern England have turned the festive break into a sodden ordeal.

The paper says Christmas was cancelled in tens of thousands of homes as severe wind and rain brought power cuts and flooding to huge swathes of Britain.

In an editorial, the paper calls for more to be done to protect against flooding.

It argues that if the weather is becoming more extreme, the government needs to make sure that homes and lives don't experience similar devastation in the future.

The Daily Express says more violent storms are about to batter the country, with a month's worth of rain likely to fall in the next 24 hours. It says there will be "floods until the new year".

According to the Daily Mirror, 80 mph winds will hit the country. It urges the insurance companies to "play fair" and pay up promptly to victims of the floods.

The paper says insurance firms need to help those affected by the floods put their lives back together rather than hindering them by quibbling.


One of the worst hit towns - Tonbridge in Kent - is the focus for the Times.

The paper has dubbed it "Venice-on-Kent".

One resident whose house was flooded tells the paper Christmas have could been worse: "We will sit at the top of the stairs, open a couple of bottles and try to eat our dinner".

In its front page story, the Daily Mail describes Gatwick's response to the bad weather as "third world" and says the airport's US owners could be investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority.

It says "mutinous passengers" were left for up to 12 hours without heating, hot food or drink and access to just one toilet - after more than 100 flights were cancelled.

A spokesperson for the airport apologised to passengers but said the bad weather, which led to flooding in a sub station and a power cut in one of its terminals, had been "extreme".

'Ethnic profiling'

A think tank's assessment that Britain is on track to have the biggest economy in Europe by 2030, overtaking those of France and Germany, makes front page headlines in the Daily Telegraph and the Sun.

The Telegraph says "the authoritative" Centre for Economic and Business research believes that a rapidly growing population, relatively low taxes and independence from the stricken eurozone will make Britain the most successful economy in the West, after the US.

But the Daily Express says the forecast also warns that any break up of the UK following the referendum on Scottish independence next year could severely damage economic growth.

The Guardian says a report by the UN refugee agency has condemned the government's proposed immigration laws, saying they could stigmatise foreigners, deny housing to people in need and create "a climate of ethnic profiling".

The paper says the highly critical document raises concerns that the immigration bill will damage communities and lead to the marginalisation of genuine refugees and asylum-seekers.

A front page story in the Independent says the government is facing criticism for what the paper describes as its "no room at the inn" approach to those trying to escape the conflict in Syria.

The paper says ministers have decided not to join 16 countries - including the US, France and Germany - which have pledged to take more than ten thousand refugees of the civil war.

Labour has called for the government to accept as many as 500 torture victims, women, children and families with connections to the UK. But the paper says ministers believe it is better to help countries neighbouring Syria deal with the flow of refugees than house them in this country.

'Christmas windfall'

The Daily Mail asks who left £1,000 in a bin bag on a vicarage doorstep.

The Daily Telegraph says the St Thomas with St Maurice Church in York has been allowed to keep the "Christmas windfall" after a court ruled that there was no evidence that it was criminal property.

According to the Times, the sum is two and a half times the amount the church can usually expect to raise in a year.

Several papers carry reports on plans that will see the Met Office forecast the weather in space.

The Times says the government is to invest almost £5m over the next three years on the study of severe solar storms which could potentially cripple the National Grid.

Scepticism is expressed by the Daily Mail. It notes that even when the Met Office is telling us what the weather is like a few miles down the road it's not always spot on.

The Daily Mirror is even more cynical, and asks how long it will be before an intergalactic Michael Fish forecasts a light meteorite shower that turns out to be an apocalyptic big bang.

A pre-election rise in interest rates could help David Cameron win the next general election, the Times reports.

It says the move would benefit more voters than it would make worse off.

Its front page story says a YouGov survey it commissioned indicates that two thirds of people think an increase would either make no difference or improve their personal finances, despite predictions that the move, which would see mortgage repayments increase, would be a disaster for the government.

Fifty-year-old fur

All the papers feature photographs of the royal family arriving for the traditional Christmas Day service on the Sandringham estate.

The Queen's choice of outfit attracts the attention of the Daily Mail which calls her the Queen of recycling for wearing the same fur coat she has owned for more than half a century.

It applauds what it calls her "trademark thrift".

The Daily Mirror reveals that the Queen first wore the coat in 1961 on a tour of Iran, India and Pakistan.

She was photographed in the same coat on the London underground in 1969, at Sandringham in 1985 and on a visit to Poland in 1996.

One observer isn't amused however. The director of Animal Aid, Andrew Tyler, tells the paper that no right-thinking person would wear fur in 2013 because "it's uncivilised".