What the papers say – December 18

England facing another lockdown and Brexit talks being bogged down dominate the papers, along with controversy surrounding a senior Conservative.

The Daily Mail says the country is on the verge of “the bleakest midwinter” due to the impending tightening of restrictions to fight the spread of Covid.

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Southern hotspots in particular face the threat of a new lockdown, The Times reports, amid fears London commuters are driving up a new wave of infections.

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The i says “millions more” will be “trapped” in the toughest tier restrictions in the south and the east of England.

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And the Daily Mirror calls the coming shifts in pandemic-related measures “Tiers before bedlam”.

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Meanwhile, Brexit trade talks have become bogged down again, this time in a dispute over state aid, according to the Financial Times.

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The Daily Express says Boris Johnson and the EU remain “poles apart” in their negotiations.

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And The Daily Telegraph says the Prime Minister has urged the EU to take the final steps on fishing and state aid to close the deal, while also reporting a third lockdown is looming for England after Christmas.

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The Guardian leads on a shortage of hospital beds amid the pandemic, while also reporting Ms Truss, the women and equalities minister, has been caught up in a race and gender row.

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The Independent reports on Ms Truss and her Thursday speech on equality, saying she has been “condemned for belittling racial injustice”.

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Metro carries a story on the plight of health care workers amid the coronavirus crisis, with 39% of Britain’s nurses saying they had missed meals because they are so poorly paid.

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The Sun splashes on Sir Paul McCartney’s plans to be vaccinated against Covid, riffing on a Beatles hit with a headline of “Get Vacc”.

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And the Daily Star leads on a coming “hair crime apocalypse”, with reports the mullet is making a comeback.

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