Talks between UK nations on Christmas rules to continue amid calls for rethink

Politics

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove will speak with the devolved nations later this afternoon about next week’s relaxation of coronavirus rules over Christmas, Sky News understands.

The call is expected to take place at around 5pm, it is believed.

Sky News understands that potential alternative options that could emerge include:

  • Keeping the rules as they are but toughening up the messaging
  • Reducing the number of days the rules are relaxed for
  • Reducing the number of households that are allowed to mix
  • Still allowing travel but restricting it to the same region
  • Moving the window to another time.

Under plans agreed with the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, up to three households will be able to form a “Christmas bubble” and meet between 23 and 27 December.

But the government is facing growing calls to to rethink its relaxation of restrictions over the festive period, amid rising infection rates in some parts of the country.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has urged Boris Johnson to think again, a call that has been echoed by London mayor Sadiq Khan.

Two prominent medical journals have said ministers should “follow the more cautious examples of Germany, Italy and the Netherlands” and not relax the rules.

In a rare joint editorial, the British Medical Journal and Health Service Journal said the government should “reverse its rash decision to allow household mixing and instead extend the tiers over the five-day Christmas period”.

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