What the papers say – December 17

The urgings of the Prime Minister for small family Christmas celebrations lead most of the nation’s papers, amid some controversy.

The Daily Mirror has lambasted Boris Johnson, calling him a “coward” for not imposing tighter Covid restrictions over Christmas, and saying he wants the public to take the blame for a “killer third wave”.

But The Sun backs the PM against the “madcap advice” of “boffins” who they say would encourage people to eat their Christmas dinner “outside with gran”.

And The Times picks up on that theme, leading on warnings for the elderly to “keep away from family at Christmas”.

Metro, the Daily Express and The Daily Telegraph carry Mr Johnson’s calls for families to stay apart, under headlines of “Have a merry little Christmas”.


The Guardian presents the advice as a warning to “rein in” festive celebrations, while also reporting calls for the Government to pass a new clean air act after a coroner’s ruling in the death of Ella Kissi-Debrah.

The Independent also features those two stories on its front page.

And the Daily Mail is calling Mr Johnson’s warning “The fright before Xmas”, while the i leads with the PM’s call for people not to stay the night when visiting for celebrations.


In other news, Mr Johnson has put MPs on standby to approve a last-minute Brexit trade deal, according to the Financial Times.

And the Daily Star mocks the new lucrative deal between Spotify and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.