Image caption, Many of Wednesday’s front pages look ahead to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s first speech of the year. He will use the event to outline a new plan for all students to study mathematics until age 18, the Times reports. Mr Sunak is attempting “to seize control of the political agenda”, the paper says. Its main picture is of the married British couple who died in a helicopter crash in Australia.
Image caption, The Daily Telegraph describes Mr Sunak’s “vision for Britain” as placing numeracy skills at its core. Looking ahead to the speech, the paper says Mr Sunak will announce that he wants the UK to rival the best education systems in the world.
Image caption, As more train strikes are scheduled to take place in January, the Daily Express reports that a deal to bring “train strike misery” to an end is “within touching distance”. In its lead story, the paper reports that Network Rail’s chief negotiator “is confident union members will soon accept an offer on pay and conditions”.
Image caption, The Financial Times pictures mourners laying flowers in memory of Russian soldiers killed in the war against Ukraine at a ceremony in Samara, Russia. Elsewhere, the paper reports No 10 admits that access to the NHS will be “very difficult” for some Britons this winter. But Downing Street added that Mr Sunak was confident the health service had the funding it needed, the paper says.
Image caption, The Guardian reports that doctors have accused the prime minister of being “delusional” in his response to pressures within the NHS. The paper reports that doctors and opposition parties reacted with scorn, anger and disbelief to comments by the PM’s official spokesperson, who “denied the NHS was in crisis”. In its second top slot, the paper pictures thousands of people gathered in Santos, Brazil, for the funeral procession of the king of football, Pelé.
Image caption, The Daily Mirror harshly criticises the Conservative government, claiming that 13 years of their leadership “broke our NHS”. On Tuesday, Health Secretary Steve Barclay said Covid and the flu have put “massive pressure” on the NHS. But a spokesperson from Unison union says “years of neglect are to blame”, the paper reports.
Image caption, In its lead, the Daily Mail says MPs are warning against Covid-style curbs amid advice from health chiefs to those suffering from flu symptoms – wear masks. “Let’s not return to face mask ‘madness'”, it says.
Image caption, The i reports on efforts by UK health officials to identify any new Covid variants that may arise from those arriving into the country from China, which is experiencing a surge in the number of cases after relaxing rules. The paper reports that up to 2,000 Chinese nationals arriving at Heathrow each day will be tested for the virus.
Image caption, The Sun reports on Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish being subjected to a knifepoint robbery while at home with his children. Jurors were told that one of the masked raiders threatened to stab the 37-year-old athlete in front of his children. Two defendants each deny two counts of robbery.
Image caption, “Where’s Rishi?”, is the Daily Star’s take on Wednesday with a mocked-up version of the game “Where’s Wally?”. Reporting on pressures faced by NHS workers, the paper says the prime minister is “nowhere to be seen”.
A number of the front pages preview Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s first speech of the year, which he will deliver later on Wednesday.
The Times says the prime minister is on a “personal mission” with his plan for compulsory maths until the age of 18. It calls the speech an attempt to “seize control” of the political agenda in the face of challenges including strikes and the NHS.
The Daily Telegraph says Mr Sunak’s shake-up of education will be one of Downing Street’s top priorities, pointing out that eight million adults in the UK have the numeracy skills of primary school children. It suggests Mr Sunak is attempting to define his premiership beyond what it calls “fire-fighting crises”.
The Financial Times focuses on the prime minister’s vow to tackle problems in the NHS. But it says No 10 has admitted that some people will find it “very difficult” to access the health service this winter.
Image source, Getty Images
The Guardian says doctors have accused Mr Sunak of being “delusional”, after he insisted there was enough money to cope with a surge in winter illness and denied there was a crisis.
The Daily Star says Mr Sunak has disappeared as the NHS collapses – it has a picture of a crowd dressed like in a “Where’s Wally?” book, with the headline: “Where’s Rishi?”
There’s a note of cautious optimism from the Daily Express on one front. It reports that a deal to end the recent spate of rail strikes is “within touching distance”.
The paper says Network Rail’s chief negotiator is confident union members will soon accept an offer on pay and conditions.
The Daily Telegraph is preoccupied with a more ancient dispute – its sources say the British Museum is nearing a deal to return the Parthenon Sculptures to Athens.
It says the antiquities, also known as the Elgin Marbles, could go home as part of a so-called “cultural exchange”. While it’s illegal for the museum to give them away, the agreement would effectively be a loan. But the paper warns this won’t be the end of the spat over the more than 2,000-year-old treasures and Greece intends to keep fighting for full ownership.
Finally, the Times reports that a motorised smart stroller has received an innovation award at a major technology conference in Las Vegas. The ELLA pram can rock and lull babies to sleep with white noise, and its motion censors warn distracted parents if they are about to walk into a lamppost.
The paper says the nearly £3,000 stroller can drive itself, but only when baby is not inside.