Newspaper headlines: Politics, parties and the monarchy – the last front pages of the year – BBC

Several of the Sunday newspapers offer contrasting assessments of Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer's chances of becoming the next prime minister. The Sunday Times leads with poll results suggesting that more respondents opted for Starmer over PM Rishi Sunak but the paper reports that the number of people who said they were undecided offers Tories some hope.
Many of Sunday's newspapers offer contrasting assessments of Sir Keir Starmer's chances of becoming the next prime minister.
The Sunday Times has a poll which suggests the Labour leader is preferred by voters in hundreds of constituencies. Nationally, he is ahead of Rishi Sunak by 32 to 22 per cent, the paper says. But almost a third of the 10,000 respondents in the poll said they were undecided.
The Observer reports that a prominent Labour MP has questioned Sir Keir's sense of purpose. Jon Cruddas – a former party policy chief – says Sir Kier, though a decent man, is detached from Labour's traditions, and is an "elusive leader" who is "difficult to find".
The Sunday Telegraph says the Conservatives are planning to create a new dividing line over spending and borrowing at the general election. It says government sources have indicated they want to frame a vote for Labour as a vote to increase borrowing.
The Sunday Express says Rishi Sunak has given the strongest signal yet that more tax cuts are on the way. In his New Year message, the prime minister says inflation is falling, but that his government isn't stopping there. The paper claims the prospect of fresh tax cuts in the Budget will heighten expectations that an election could be held in May.
The Mail on Sunday claims that hundreds of civil servants are on exclusive full-time 'home-working contracts' and do not go into Whitehall at all. The paper says Freedom of Information requests show that 815 employees across eight departments are now allowed to work permanently from home. That's more than double the number last year, the paper says. A Cabinet Office spokesman says the contracts are "incredibly rare", and new guidance requires civil servants to be in the office at least 60 per cent of the time.
The disruption to Eurostar services due to a flooded tunnel also features heavily in the papers. Most point out that thousands of people could have their New Year plans ruined. The Telegraph says tears and anger were in abundance on the concourse at London St Pancras, as people tried to get to a range of places, including Disneyland. The Sun on Sunday's headline is "Gush Hour Chaos".
Thousands of cancer patients had crucial hospital appointments cancelled at least three times last year, according to The Times. Data from 30 of England's 124 main NHS trusts shows that more than 33,000 people had their first appointment cancelled, and over 2,000 had theirs delayed three times or more. In response, the Department of Health said it had provided £800m to ensure patients received the highest quality care this winter.
And The Sunday Mirror reports that the government is asking 175,000 people what they think the Royal Family's role should be. The government surveys people on a range of matters, including the monarchy. But the paper says the number of people being questioned in the latest poll is five times bigger than before, and the Royal Family will be briefed on the results.
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