image captionThe Financial Times leads on the pause to the post-Brexit trade talks between the UK and the EU. Its splash reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make an eleventh hour bid to “unblock” negotiations, by telephoning European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen on Saturday to try and agree a deal. Phone calls to other EU leaders – including the French president Emmanuel Macron – could follow, it adds.
image captionThe Daily Telegraph says the “stalemate” in the Brexit talks came after the EU was accused of making a “ridiculous” demand for 10 years’ unrestricted access to Britain’s fishing waters. A senior government source quoted by the paper calls the EU’s new offer “frankly laughable” and adds that if the EU believe the UK will “cave in”, then they have made a “massive miscalculation”. British sources have told the Telegraph that unless the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, is given a fresh mandate by Brussels, there will not be a deal as the UK has “reached the end of the road” in how “flexible” it can be.
image caption“Le bust-up” is the headline of the Daily Mail’s splash, which reports that British officials consider President Macron to blame for the “hardline stance” taken by Mr Barnier during Brexit talks. UK sources quoted by the paper accuse Mr Macron of not respecting Britain’s independence and “trying to shield his nation’s firms from competition”, with one insider warning there would be no deal unless he backed down. However an ally of the French president said he would veto any trade deal that went against French interests.
image captionThe Times also reports UK claims that France “derailed” Brexit talks, with President Macron accused of pushing Mr Barnier into “ambushing” Britain with last-minute demands as the price of a deal. As well as EU fleets being allowed to fish in UK waters, the paper says the EU wants to subsidise industries across the bloc without having to follow the same strict rules as the British. A senior government official has told the paper that Mr Johnson will make clear to President von der Leyen today that the proposal was “not something that we can agree to or sell”.
image captionThe Guardian’s top story on the Brexit talks suggests hopes are rising for a deal after a “significant intervention” by German chancellor Angela Merkel, who has urged both sides to reach an agreement. Mrs Merkel has said that further compromises should be made if it would secure a trade and security deal, with her spokesman adding: “Everybody has their principles, there are red lines…but there’s always room for compromise.”
image caption“Brexit talks go to the wire” is headline of the i’s weekend front page, which pictures Mr Barnier and quotes Romania’s prime minister as saying an agreement is expected to be struck “in the coming days”.
image caption“Your round Rishi” is how the Daily Mirror headlines its call for the chancellor to give a a £2bn supermarket coronavirus tax break refund to struggling pubs. The paper’s campaign has secured the backing of celebrity landlords Tom Kerridge and Jodie Kidd, with the latter telling the paper such a move would “save so many pubs and livelihoods”.
image captionPubs and shops hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic will benefit from a £1.5bn spending spree by drinkers and Christmas shoppers on Saturday – the first non-working day since the end of England’s second lockdown, which the Sun dubs “stupor Saturday”.
image captionThe Daily Express leads on a similar story as it reports UK shoppers are set to hand a £10bn “lifeline” to the High Street this weekend.
image caption“Nicked by frying squad” is how the Daily Star sums up its splash about a series of police raids on pubs where drinkers have been enjoying a beer with a Scotch egg. The paper says the swoop by the “frying squad” comes after Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said a Scotch egg would count as a substantial meal in bars under tier two coronavirus restrictions.