Newspaper headlines: 'Anti-Tory tactical vote' and 'Brexit is now up to you'

The Papers 8 December 2019

As the election approaches, the Observer reports that "senior Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP figures" have "launched an 11th-hour appeal to anti-Tory voters" to consider voting tactically and deny the Conservatives a majority.

But for the Sun on Sunday, "just 10,000 voters in battleground seats have the destiny of Brexit in their hands".

And as the votes are counted on election night, the Sunday Times offers some light relief: Big Beast Bingo, featuring 12 high-profile figures who could lose in swing seats.

Among them are Boris Johnson, the Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and the former Tory ministers David Gauke and Dominic Grieve. Players are urged to "tick them off as they fall".

Elsewhere, Australia's former prime minister Tony Abbott writes in the Sunday Telegraph that a Labour government would be a "disaster" for Britain.

And in the Sunday Express, the Leave.EU founder, Arron Banks challenges Nigel Farage to back Boris Johnson and avoid Brexit being "pulled into the shadows by Parliament and quietly strangled".

Election pitches

Meanwhile, the editorial columns make the papers' final pitches to voters before they go to the polls.

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The Sunday Telegraph sets out its stall for the Conservatives, describing the election as "an opportunity to say 'yes' to Brexit and to reject totally Labour's politics of hate".

The Observer sees the election as a "chance to strip power from a dangerous charlatan - Boris Johnson". It says that, while it abhors "Corbyn's failures on anti-Semitism" and recalls the "Lib Dem complicity in the dreadful policies of the coalition", readers should "vote for the pro-referendum, progressive candidate" who will deny the Conservatives a majority.

For the Mail on Sunday, a vote for Boris Johnson will not only allow the country to "get on with both Brexit and economic recovery", but also "rescue the Labour Party" from the current leadership.

The Sunday Times tells its readers their "task is to keep Mr Corbyn out of Downing Street", adding that "while the prime minister's flaws are in plain sight... many of the threats posed by the Labour leader lurk beneath the surface".

The Sunday Express warns that Mr Corbyn would "usher in a new dark age, fuelled by his Marxist dogma and corrosive extremism".

The Sunday Mirror nails its colours firmly to the Labour mast, pointing out that, although "old party loyalties have been chipped away by Brexit", voters should bear in mind that austerity will only get worse under another Tory government.

The Sunday People follows suit, calling on the nation to "vote for hope" by backing Labour.

Cancer waits

The Sunday Times reports that "cancer patients are being forced to endure the worst waiting times since records began" a decade ago.

It says that, between April and September, 168,000 patients were not seen or treated within the target times for referral and treatment. The NHS states there were "a record 2.2 million cancer checks last year", with survival at "an all-time high" in England.

The same paper leads with leaked documents from Labour's disciplinary body, which are reported to reveal the scale of its anti-Semitism problem. The "secret files" are said to show that the party is "overwhelmed with complaints that have been left unresolved for months or years".

Most cases, the Sunday Times says, "have resulted in lenient punishments or no sanctions". Labour insists the claims are "categorically untrue" and that it has taken "robust action" to suspend or expel those involved.

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'Ru-Turn of the King'

Anthony Joshua's world title win in Saudi Arabia happened too late for many papers - but the Sun on Sunday is able to hail it as the "Ru-Turn of the King".

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"On a night of desert storms", it says, "Anthony Joshua found an oasis of calm" and redemption for his loss to Andy Ruiz in June.

The Sunday Times website praises his "ability to stick determinedly to a gameplan" and put his career "back on track".

The Sunday Telegraph believes that Joshua's "focus and desire cannot be doubted" but that there was little in the fight to worry his main rivals.