image captionAlmost all the Christmas Eve front pages lead on reports that the UK and EU are edging close to signing a Brexit trade deal. The Times says the UK and EU are on the “verge” of an announcement that will define their relationship for decades. The agreement, it adds, was delayed as lawyers and negotiators attempted to translate the final compromises – particularly on fishing – into a binding legal text.
image caption“Deal” is the single-word headline for the i. The paper says the UK is set to avoid a “chaotic cliff-edge exit” from the EU with just days to spare, after diplomats made a breakthrough.
image caption“It’s almost over”, says the Daily Mirror. A trade deal has been “done for Christmas” and the prime minister is expected to announce details of the “compromise agreement” within hours, it reports.
image captionThe Guardian quotes Downing Street’s statement that a deal was within “touching distance”. It says both sides battled deep into the night to gain a “last-minute” advantage.
image caption“Hallelujah. It’s a Merry Brexmas”, says the Daily Mail. It quotes sources as saying Boris Johnson’s agreement will avoid tariffs but they expect a backlash from Eurosceptic MPs over fishing rights, where the PM is said to have given ground.
image captionThe Sun also uses the word Brexmas in its coverage. The paper’s front page carries a mocked-up photo of Boris Johnson as Father Christmas, holding a Union Jack sack. A historic pact was on the verge of being agreed hours before Christmas, says the paper.
image captionBoris Johnson is pictured on the front page of the Daily Express making a “V for victory” sign. The “deal is done” and Britain is heading for a “golden new era”, says the paper.
image captionThe Financial Times says a “day of diplomatic drama” ended with the UK and EU on the cusp of a trade deal. A “rare mood of optimism” emerged from the talks after a gruelling 2020, reports the FT.
image captionThe Daily Telegraph says confirmation of a deal was expected after 24 hours of intensive telephone negotiations between Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. It also finds room to highlight the announcement that more areas of England are to be subject to the toughest tier four Covid restrictions from 26 December and the discovery of another new variant of the virus.
image captionThe Daily Star focuses on the coronavirus pandemic – with its lead story reporting the new variant, the tier four announcement and the highest recorded daily UK death toll since April.