Newspaper headlines: Shoppers facing mask fines and PM to ban Huawei
Many of the front pages focus on the government's decision to make face coverings mandatory in shops in England from next week – with the Daily Telegraph, the Times and the Daily Mirror all saying that the change in policy came "after days of confusion".
With the headline "It's About Bleedin' Time!", the Daily Star accuses Downing Street of "four months of mixed messages".
According to the Guardian, the announcement is understood to have been "rushed forward" after the Cabinet Office Minister, Michael Gove, said on Sunday that shoppers should not be required to wear masks – "contradicting indications" from Boris Johnson last week. The Daily Mail suggests the move "may anger those who find coverings uncomfortable, or dislike the idea of state compulsion".
With the government appearing likely to exclude Huawei from the UK's 5G networks, there are contradictory reports on the timetable for the new policy, as well as how Conservative MPs will react.
The Telegraph thinks Boris Johnson "will bow to the demands of his backbenchers" by banning the Chinese firm from next year, with the aim of stripping out all of its infrastructure by 2024. But the Times says ministers will consider plans which would see some Huawei technology remain until 2027 – and the Guardian believes Tory rebels are preparing to "beef up their opposition" unless last-minute changes are made.
The main story in the Financial Times highlights an acknowledgement by government officials that British companies will have to complete an extra 215 million customs declarations to continue to trade with Europe post-Brexit – at a cost of around seven billion pounds a year.
The paper says the forms would need to be filled out "regardless of whether the UK and the EU conclude a trade deal this year with the aim of removing all tariffs and quotas" – and would be mirrored by the same process by counterparties in the EU, resulting in some 430 million forms in total each year. The shadow Cabinet Office Minister, Rachel Reeves, is quoted as describing the extra bureaucracy as "staggering".
The Times claims to have learned that plans have been drawn up for one of Britain's two new aircraft carriers to be sent to the Far East – as part of efforts to counter what the paper calls "an increasingly assertive China." It says HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to conduct military exercises with allies including the US and Japan after setting sail on its maiden grand voyage early next year. The fleet commander, Vice-Admiral Jerry Kyd, is reported to have told an online seminar that Britain's F-35 stealth fighter jets could be based in the region – with the carrier being used to take them out and bring them home again.
Research by the University of Cambridge which suggests that apathy – not depression – could be an early warning sign of dementia is featured by the Telegraph. Scientists found that people with higher baseline apathy, as well as those with increasing apathy over time, had a greater risk of dementia – whereas neither baseline depression nor changes in depression had any detectable influence on whether individuals developed the condition. The paper says the research suggests the belief that depression is a risk factor for dementia may be because some depression scales used by clinicians partially assess apathy.