BBC News

Newspaper headlines: Vaccine priorities and Brexit deal block

By BBC News
Staff

Published
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image captionFrench demands for access to fish in UK waters are reported to be a factor holding up a Brexit trade deal

The headline in the i newspaper announces "Vaccine arrives in the UK", or as the Sun puts it: "The needle has landed". The Daily Express reports that industrially-frozen shipments of the jab turned up on the back of unmarked lorries, which rolled off Eurotunnel freight carriages in convoy. The Times says health officials have dismissed global criticism of Britain's rapid approval of a vaccine as sour grapes. According to the paper, they say regulators in other countries who have been beaten to the decision will ultimately make the same judgement.

The Guardian's main story is that NHS frontline staff will no longer be prioritised for the vaccine after a drastic rethink about who should come first. It says NHS bosses have warned that the UK's first consignment of 800,000 doses may be "the only batch we receive for some time" - raising questions about how soon further supplies will arrive and how long frontline personnel and vulnerable groups will have to wait. Care home staff, and in-patients and out-patients aged over 80, will take priority, the paper adds.

Several papers blame French demands for access to fish in UK waters for the setback in the Brexit talks. According to the Financial Times, President Macron wants to preserve a substantial chunk of existing fishing rights for the French fleet - and is also insisting on a strict UK state-aid regime. The Daily Telegraph quotes UK sources as saying Paris has been "lobbying hard" among EU member states to agree fresh demands on these issues.

A number of papers report that Sir Keir Starmer faces the prospect of unrest over his plans for Labour to vote in favour of any Brexit deal. The Times says at least one shadow cabinet member and several shadow ministers will consider resigning if Labour backs an agreement. According to the paper, they believe the party should abstain and wash its hands of the consequences of a hard Brexit.

The Daily Mirror is calling on the government to save the hospitality industry with the nearly £2bn that supermarkets are handing back in business rates relief given at the start of the pandemic. It suggests setting up a rescue fund to support pubs, bars and restaurants who may struggle to survive beyond Christmas. Supermarkets have done the right thing - the paper says - and now is the time for the chancellor to do the right thing too.

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image captionWestminster is split on whether Father Christmas will require a vaccine before delivering presents

Finally - with the vaccine expected to be rolled out within days, the Telegraph says ministers are at odds with scientists over whether Father Christmas will need the jab before delivering presents. It reports that the deputy chief medical officer for England, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said yesterday that Santa Claus would be "at the top of our list" to be vaccinated. But hours later - the paper goes on - Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, insisted he would not need the jab, telling MPs that Santa had been allocated a special travel corridor, while his elves would count as "key workers".