Newspaper Round Up: 8th of December 2020

2020-12-08358
Daily Express
The Daily Express says the PM will try to persuade the EU to "back down" on its demands during what it calls his "final make-or-break push to clinch a Brexit trade deal". The paper says the fact that it is Mr Johnson's first trip to Brussels since entering Downing Street will be seen on "both sides of the Channel as a sign that a trade deal is tantalisingly close". It adds the summit between the PM and Mrs von der Leyen is expected to take place tomorrow.
Times
Dr Shukla, a race relations campaigner and former teacher, is also pictured with his wife on the Times' front page, which also quotes NHS England's chief executive Sir Simon Stevens who calls the first vaccinations a "decisive turning point in the battle with the pandemic". Meanwhile, the paper's lead story reports the news that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to fly to Brussels for "eleventh-hour" Brexit talks with Mrs von der Leyen this week, as UK and EU negotiators struggle to reach a trade deal. A UK government source tells the paper: "We will have to see whether there will be a political meeting of minds or not. But there may not be."
Guardian
The Guardian's Brexit splash reports the "long-awaited crunch meeting" between the EU Commission president and the PM could happen tomorrow or Thursday, according to sources on both sides of the talks. It also quotes Ireland's foreign minister Simon Coveney who says there would need to be a big change in the British approach for the upcoming summit to be a success. "The next two days need to be very different to the last two," he adds.
Daily Mail
The Daily Mail reports that Mr Johnson is poised for a "Brussels showdown" in the UK's "last call for a deal" with the EU, which it says comes some 1,629 days after the EU referendum in 2016.
Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph's Brexit lead reports speculation from EU sources that although the PM's visit to Brussels may secure a trade deal, it could also be "intended purely to show that he tried everything he could to get a deal even if he expects to come home empty-handed". But a British insider close to the talks insisted the meeting between Mr Johnson and Mrs von der Leyen "will not be window dressing" as the pair "will have to do some negotiating themselves". The paper suggests Mr Johnson will be taking a "huge gamble by entering the lions's den" in Brussels for the first time since becoming prime minister - which it says his predecessors Theresa May and David Cameron "failed to conquer, to their ultimate cost".
Daily Star
The Daily Star says 2020 has "finally come up trumps" with news that beer and crisps could help to tackle climate change. The front page features a handy "free excuse" cut-out that readers can present to their dearly beloved when their enjoyment of beer and crisps is called into question, with the headline "Lazy? I'm saving the bleedin' planet..."
Metro
Dr Hari Shukla, 87, his wife Ranjan, and intensive care medic Dr Banwari Agarwal are dubbed "history makers" by the Metro, as they become some of the first patients in Britain to receive the Covid jab. The paper quotes Dr Shukla, who says: "I'm delighted to be doing my bit by having the vaccine. I feel it is my duty to do so." The Metro also gives its take on the Brexit negotiations, with the line "Why Ursula's von delayin'", a pun on the surname of the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Financial Times
The Financial Times reports that ride-hailing firm Uber has pulled the plug on its efforts to develop a self-driving car to take a stake in Aurora, an autonomous vehicle start-up backed by Amazon and Sequoia. Uber will transfer its 1,200-strong self-driving unit to Aurora and invest $400m (£300m). The paper says the deal means Aurora could ultimately "supply its driverless technology to the world's largest ride-hailing fleet" and, through Toyota's involvement with Uber's original self-driving unit, could gain an "important car-maker as a partner". Aurora's chief executive Chris Urmson tells the FT: "This is a bit of a coup and we are incredibly excited about it".