image captionSeveral of Sunday’s papers lead with the unfolding drama within the Tory party ahead of a Commons vote on Tuesday on the tougher tier system. Conservative MPs have hit back at Michael Gove’s claims that hospitals could become “overwhelmed” by coronavirus cases, accusing the government of exaggerating capacity problems, the Observer says. The paper says it has been told by some Tory MPs that health minister Nadine Dorries said last week that the Nightingale hospitals remained largely unfilled as people thought they were “dark and dingy”. Sources close to Ms Dorries denied she used the exact terms recalled by the MPs, the paper adds.
image captionDominating the Sunday People’s front page is a plea from nurses and MPs for Nightingale hospitals to open following a surge in Covid intensive care admissions. There are growing calls, the paper says, to use the seven emergency units built for £220m during the first wave of the pandemic.
image captionIn a bid to placate his MPs and head off a rebellion in the Commons, Boris Johnson has said the new tier system could end in just nine weeks, the Sunday Telegraph reports. Writing to Conservative MPs, the prime minister has said he will allow the Commons to vote again on the new tiers in late January. The paper says the move will be seen as a “major concession” after up to 100 Tory MPs threatened to go against the government’s plan. Meanwhile, the paper says, Treasury ministers are hoping a quick economic recovery mid-2021 will mean that any significant tax rises can be delayed until the following year.
image captionThe Sunday Times calls the PM’s letter to MPs “a sign of disarray in Downing Street” as Mr Johnson tries to assuage Tory concerns over the new measures. Mr Johnson said the new rules will be scrapped completely in February unless MPs want them to continue, in a bid to reassure his party the tougher restrictions will not be in place until Easter. “Johnson in retreat” is how the paper characterises the PM’s actions.
image captionThe Sunday Express adds that, should Labour vote against Mr Johnson’s plan, just 40 Tory rebels would be needed to defeat the government.
image captionAnd Conservatives aren’t the only ones the PM has to appeal to ahead of the new measures coming into effect, the Mail on Sunday reports, as he urges Britons not to “blow it” in the battle against coronavirus by flouting the restrictions. Writing in the Mail on Sunday, he asked people not to “jump the fence now” in a bid to reach “the sunlit upland pastures ahead”.
image captionElsewhere, the Sunday Mirror lead with an interview with Aseel Muthana, a man from Cardiff who is being held in Syria and is accused of persuading dozens of people to join the so-called Islamic State group. He says he has human rights and should be allowed to return to the UK, the paper says.
image captionAnd finally, the Daily Star Sunday says special forces the Special Air Service and the Special Boat Service went head-to-head “to see who is the toughest”, settling their dispute with a baking competition.