Newspaper headlines: 'Christmas cancelled', and 'surging mutant virus'

By BBC News

  • Published
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Image source, Reuters

The recurring message in Sunday's papers is that "Christmas is cancelled".

"Will this nightmare ever end?" asks the Mail on Sunday.

Scotland on Sunday similarly describes the tightening of measures as the "nightmare before Christmas".

The Sun on Sunday points out that Boris Johnson is "the first British leader to ban Christmas since Oliver Cromwell in 1644".

It says "millions of Brits will be rightly furious" that their plans have been "crushed" - and warns that the prime minister will never be forgiven if the science used to support the move turns out to be "dodgy".

The Daily Star accuses the government of a "lack of clear thinking and consistency".

It fears Mr Johnson "no longer has the confidence of the voters", who are likely to ignore the new rules.

The Sunday People says his "characteristic dithering" has created a shambles.

One analyst predicts the market will be in even worse straits next year.

The Mail on Sunday shows Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove among shoppers who rushed to make last-minute Christmas purchases before the tier four restrictions came into effect.

A cartoon in the paper depicts an elf handing Father Christmas a long piece of paper, with the caption: "This isn't a Christmas list... it's the Covid rules for when you visit Britain."

Image source, EPA

The Sunday Times tries to make the best of things, by helpfully providing a "big lockdown TV and streaming guide" to aid its readers in getting through the festive period.

It also suggests growing numbers of people have been turning to alcohol to handle the stress of lockdown.

Figures from Public Health England, it says, show that almost one in 20 people are consuming more than 50 units a week - up from one in 30 in March. The figure is highest among parents with children under 18.

The Observer reveals that more than 30 pro-Brexit Conservative MPs are threatening to withhold support for a trade deal with the EU if the government makes any significant last-minute compromises.

Half the members of the European Research Group are said to be prepared to rebel, rather than back a position "that is not really Brexit".

Britain's blue chip companies are set to "produce the worst major share index performance in the world this year", according to the Sunday Telegraph.

It says the FTSE 100 is likely to suffer its poorest year since 2008, even if a Brexit trade deal boosts share prices.

Image source, Guy Levy/BBC
Image caption,
Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse win Strictly Come Dancing 2020

The Mail on Sunday contrasts the gloomy announcement from Downing Street with the exuberance of the Strictly Come Dancing final.

Showing an emotional Bill Bailey and Oti Mabuse preparing to lift the glitterball trophy, it says there were more tears - but these were "Strictly joyful".

The Sunday Express says it's "no joke" that the comedian is the new champion, while the Sun on Sunday reveals that he defied odds as high as 66/1.

India Knight in the Sunday Times views him as "the very spirit of Strictly - an underdog novice who won the hearts of the voting public".

The Sunday People praises the show for delivering "some festive sparkle" on a day of bad news.