Newspaper headlines: Brexit forecast, Corbyn relaunch, out-of-hours GPs and Christmas bells

The suggestion by Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK's most senior EU diplomat, that finalising a Brexit deal could take a decade is described as "unwarranted pessimism" by the Mail.

The paper calls on the Foreign Office to hire some diplomats with "willpower, ingenuity and patriotism" who see the exciting opportunities of Brexit instead of "spreading endless gloom".

The Telegraph says Sir Ivan "lacks ambition" as he forgets the UK's strong bargaining position - that the EU sells far more in goods and services to the UK than vice versa, and a tariff barrier would be foolish.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says in the Financial Times that he worked with Sir Ivan in Brussels on trade deals.

"He knows what he's talking about," insists Mr Clegg, and urges the government to listen to him.

Support for Sir Ivan's view is expressed in the Times by senior German politician Norbert Rottgen, chairman of the Bundestag foreign affairs committee.

He tells the paper that a transitional Brexit arrangement is unavoidable and this may take perhaps "five, seven, 10 years".


The Guardian says a relaunch is planned for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the new year.

It says Mr Corbyn will try to tap into the anti-Establishment mood by pitching himself as a left-wing populist, with "unpolished authenticity".

The Guardian understands he will appear on TV more often and show a willingness to lead a revolt against vested interests.

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The Sun reports concern about Mr Corbyn bringing a senior Sinn Fein figure into his team.

A source close to Mr Corbyn says he has "high regard" for Jayne Fisher, but a Labour backbencher tells the paper that the appointment is "madness" because of her links to Republicans, and that it will "horrify" the party's traditional voters.


On its front page, the Mail says tens of millions of patients in England still cannot see their GP out of hours, despite a major drive for longer opening times.

According to the paper, NHS figures show that fewer than one-fifth of surgeries offer appointments during evenings and weekends.

The Mail believes this will fuel concern that the government's pledge to offer out-of-hours appointments by 2020 is "wildly off course".

A spokesman for NHS England says it is encouraged by the figures because they show GPs are sharing appointments across practices and offering evening and weekend visits to the vast majority of people.

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The Times reports that a £355m government project to improve the education of some of the world's poorest girls has instead been helping boys.

The paper says the money from the Department for International Development (DfID) represents the biggest drive to educate girls in Africa and Asia.

But a study by an aid watchdog calls the results unacceptable.

DfID says the UK is a global leader when it comes to transforming the lives of the world's poorest girls.


According to the Telegraph, with nine days to go before Christmas Day, York Minster is struggling to find a replacement for the bell ringers it sacked in October.

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The paper says the bells could stay silent for Christmas for the first time since 1361 as campanologists in Leeds have, as an "act of solidarity", decided not to step in.

The Times says the message is very clear: "If you cross one campanologist, you cross them all."