image captionEU sources have told the Guardian that a “breakthrough” has been made in the Brexit trade talks on the rights of European fleets to fish in UK waters. The front page says the talks will now “go to the wire” over a demand by France and Germany that the UK follows EU laws or face tariffs on British exports. UK sources warn the talks will collapse unless this demand is dropped within the next 48 hours.
image captionThe Daily Mail says a “bullish” Boris Johnson has told his chief Brexit negotiator, Lord Frost, that he will not sign any deal that holds Britain to future EU laws – with the PM ready to quit the talks within two days if the EU fails to drop its “ludicrous” demand. The paper also quotes Dutch sources who have hinted they may compromise on the issue of fishing rights.
image captionIn a similar vein, the Daily Express says Mr Johnson “will not hesitate to pull the plug” on Brexit talks if the EU refuses to compromise. The paper quotes a UK source close to the talks, who warns: “We’ll only keep talking if there is some movement and we think there’s any point.”
image captionThe Metro opts for a festive pun in its lead story on the Brexit talks as it dubs Lord Frost – who is pictured on its front page – “Frosty the ‘no’ man”. The headline is a reference to the paper’s claim that he is ready to say no to the EU if any of its demands breach the UK’s “red lines”.
image captionThe Financial Times quotes the Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin who says the Brexit negotiations are on a “knife edge” and he does not think people should be “overly optimistic about a resolution emerging”. However, Environment Secretary George Eustice insists that although the talks remain in a “very difficult position”, there is “still a deal to be done”. The FT says a team of negotiators will now target their focus to the rules governing competition between the UK and the EU, after it says both sides have agreed that fishing rules are “no longer the main obstacle to a deal”.
image captionThe Daily Telegraph reports that despite the EU backing down over fishing rights, Brexit negotiations are “on a knife edge” as other crucial issues remain unresolved. One EU diplomat has told the paper the discussion on fisheries were “closing in”, but British sources insisted that a final deal on fishing has yet to be agreed. A senior government insider says: “If we are still talking on Tuesday, it will be a good sign, because it will mean we are on the right path and a deal is doable.”
image captionThe Times says German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have jointly confronted Mr Johnson with a “final offer” on Brexit trade talks which, according to one diplomatic source in Brussels, includes a weakening of EU demands for a level playing field. The front page also reports that care home residents will have the coronavirus vaccine delivered to them, following concerns that the Pfizer jab – which must be kept at -70C – could not be reliably distributed to homes
image caption“Vaxit” is the front page headline of the Sun, which says that Britain is on the “brink of a new dawn” as the PM prepares to end the “Brexit talks agony” and the NHS begins to administer the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine to patients on Tuesday.
image captionThe arrival of the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine in the UK is hailed as “V Day” by the i, which pictures staff at Croydon University Hospital taking delivery of the jabs. Prof Stephen Powis, the NHS’s medical director in England, is quoted on the front page saying: “This feels like the beginning of the end.”
image caption“The day hope arrived” is how the Daily Mirror greets the arrival of the first Covid vaccines at UK hospitals, as the “optimistic” Health Secretary Matt Hancock is quoted as saying the vaccine roll-out could mean coronavirus tier restrictions could be lifted by March.
image captionMeanwhile, sticking to its long-running theme of portraying the prime minister as a clown, the Daily Star leads on comments by the football pundit Gary Neville, who has likened Mr Johnson’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic to his own “woeful spell” at managing the football club Valencia.