What the papers say - December 20


Reports that rape and sexual assault cases being handled by Scotland Yard will be reviewed by the force following concerns over the disclosure of evidence make the front pages on Wednesday.

Also covered prominently is the foiling of a Christmas "terror plot" and a rise in council tax.

The Metropolitan Police, the UK's largest force, is assessing all of its current rape and sex abuse investigations after two trials collapsed in a week amid claims evidence was withheld by officers, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The Times also leads with the story, reporting concerns that police failed to disclose evidence proving a girl making rape allegations was a liar until it was requested by a defendant's lawyers. Also on the front page is a report that the BBC is to increase its prime-time coverage of non-Christian festivals such as Eid, Passover and Diwali.

In its lead story The Guardian says Scotland Yard's review will look at scores of live cases. In a separate story, the paper says Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has given The Guardian his backing as it faces legal action over the so-called Paradise papers leak.

The Sun covers the foiling of a "Christmas terror attack" following raids by police and MI5 in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. The paper also reports on the jailing of Arthur Collins, former partner of The Only Way Is Essex star Ferne McCann, for 20 years for a nightclub acid attack.

The Daily Mirror also leads with coverage of the counter-terror raids, saying the alleged plot involved a "bomb factory" above a fish and chip shop. The front page also features Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell, who has spoken to the paper about her preparations for Christmas after her diagnosis of inoperable lung cancer.

"Merry Christmas! Council tax bills up by £100" exclaims the headline on the Daily Mail's front page, which carries a story about councils being given permission to raise taxes by 6%. The paper also reports that Victoria Beckham's fashion business "lost £8million" in the last year.

The Daily Express also reports on the plans to raise council tax, saying it will result in bills rising by £116 for an average household.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports on the disappointing news for bankers that their bonuses would have to remain governed by EU-imposed caps after Brexit, whether a member of the single market or not.

The i follows up on its Tuesday coverage of an NHS recruitment "crisis" with reaction from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to figures that showed there are 100,000 vacant positions across the service.