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Dec.09, 2021: @acenewsservices

#AceDailyNews says here’s todays Newspaper Headlines: Todays PM’s Question Time (PMQ’S) Were just arguments over a SO-CALLED Christmas Party last year and instead of LEADING the country they ARGUE like CHILDREN and PATHETIC and today l feel DISGUSTED by the parties of the OPPOSITION ……..

Senior Downing Street staff have been filmed joking about holding a Christmas party last December when much of the country was in lockdown, the Metro is reporting. In the video, obtained by ITV News, the PM’s then press secretary Allegra Stratton is asked by colleagues about reports of a party, as they rehearse a news conference. In jokey exchanges, she says: “This fictional party was a business meeting and it was not socially distanced.” Downing Street continues to insist no party took place but a source told the BBC a party with “several dozen” people did take place days before this footage was shot.

BBC News: Staff:

“A sick joke” is the headline in the Daily Mail, which is also leading on the video about the “lockdown-busting” party. The paper says Downing Street was in “crisis mode” on Tuesday night over the footage, taken while London was in Tier 3 Covid restrictions – under which social gatherings were not allowed.

The Guardian is also leading with the questions over the Downing Street Christmas party and the video of senior staff joking about it. The paper says the prime minister is “facing accusations of lying” about whether the festivities “broke Covid rules or took place at all”, as both the government and Mr Johnson continue to deny any party occurred.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror has another story about a government Christmas party from last year that “broke” Covid rules, but this time at the Department of Education. The paper says former Education Secretary Gavin Williamson hosted a party on 10 December with “up to 24 of his top team”. The government has said this event did take place, but it was “work related” and used to thank staff for their “efforts during the pandemic”.

The Telegraph is leading with a story that a “work-from-home order” and other stricter Covid measures being considered by ministers to slow the spread of the Omicron variant. The paper says the cabinet is split over the use of vaccine passports, but the measure is still being looked at given the evidence that the new strain is more transmissible than the Delta variant.

The Times is also leading with a story on a “rift” in the cabinet over whether the government should introduce vaccine passports in England to slow the spread of Omicron. The paper says ministers were split at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, where “they were forced to confront” if stricter Covid measures – known as Plan B – should be introduced.

The i paper says the build up to the festive season is “starting to look a lot like last Christmas” in its top story. It focuses on the prime minister continuing refusal to rule out calling for people to work from home, as well as the video of senior Number 10 staff joking about the Christmas party.

Fears the Omicron variant could “overwhelm” hospitals has led the prime minister to “pile on the pressure on the NHS” to speed up booster jab rollout, the Daily Express reports. The paper says his “blunt message” follows warnings from experts the strain is more transmissible than the Delta variant.

The US has urged Germany and the EU to block a gas pipeline from Russia as part of possible sanctions if President Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine, the Financial Times says. The calls to block the use of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would be one element of a variety of planned measures to prevent further conflict in the region, amid intelligence community concerns over the possibility Russia is preparing military action, the paper says.

The Sun is reporting that senior figures from the energy sector “felt the heat” on Tuesday after blaming the power outages caused by Storm Arwen on the “wrong type of wind”. The paper says regulators “offered no apology” while being questioned, telling MPs the downed power lines were caused by trees which had “been hit from a surprise direction”.

And finally, the Daily Star says the “massive hunt for Deputy PM Dominic Raab’s brain” is continuing, following the explosive whistleblower testimony about problems with the withdrawal from Afghanistan this summer while he was foreign secretary. The papers says the testimony about dysfunction in the Foreign Office has exposed the politician as being “slightly thicker than custard”.

Photos of the prime minister’s former press secretary, Allegra Stratton, laughing feature on many of the front pages – as the claims that Downing Street held a Christmas party during lockdown last December were given fresh impetus. 

The Times accuses Boris Johnson of “lying”, after ITV News obtained a video of a mock briefing showing Downing Street staff laughing while making references to a gathering where cheese and wine were served.

An unnamed Downing Street official is quoted in the Financial Times as saying that, after the prime minister’s denials, the situation is “pretty disastrous”. 

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail says the “damning” footage will haunt the Tories, with its main headline referring to the situation as “a sick joke”. 

The Mirror focuses on fresh claims that another “top Tory” broke socialising rules last Christmas, alleging former Education Secretary Gavin Williamson hosted as many as 24 members of his top team for a festive “bash”. The paper quotes the Department for Education admitting that the gathering was held to thank staff for their efforts during the pandemic. 

The spokesman said that while it was work-related, looking back they accepted it would have been better not to have gathered in that way at that particular time. The Mirror adds a “grotesque picture is emerging of an elite deciding rules are for the ruled, not the rulers”. 

Meanwhile, the build up to the festive season is “starting to look a lot like last Christmas” the i paper writes, focusing on the prime minister’s continuing refusal to rule out calling for people to work from home.

Tougher Covid rules are under consideration by the government, including plans for a work-from-home order over the festive period, according to the Daily Telegraph. The paper says the Cabinet is split about whether to bring in vaccine passports, but the measure is still being looked at given the evidence that the new Omicron variant is more transmissible than the Delta strain. 

Fears the Omicron variant could “overwhelm” hospitals has led the prime minister to “pile on the pressure on the NHS” to speed up the booster jab rollout is the lead in the Daily Express. 

However, the Sun focuses on a totally different story – reporting that senior figures from the energy sector “felt the heat” yesterday after blaming the power outages caused by Storm Arwen on the “wrong type of wind”. It says regulators “offered no apology” while being questioned, telling MPs the downed power lines were caused by trees that had “been hit from a surprise direction”.

And finally, the Daily Star says the “massive hunt for Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab’s brain” is continuing. It follows the testimony of a whistleblower about problems with the withdrawal from Afghanistan this summer while he was foreign secretary.

#AceNewsDesk report …………..Published: Dec.09: 2021:

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