Sky News understands that Cabinet Office Minister Michael Cove will talk to distributed countries this afternoon about easing corona virus rules next week in the run-up to Christmas.
The call is expected to take place at 5 p.m., it is believed.
Sky News understands the potential alternatives that could emerge:
- Keeping the rules intact but tightening the message
- Reducing the number of days the rules are relaxed
- Reducing the number of houses allowed to mix
- Still allows travel, but restricts to the same region
- Moving the window to another time.
Under projects agreed with the distributed administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, up to three homes can create a “Christmas bubble” and meet from 23 to 27 December.
But as infection rates continue to rise in some parts of the country, the government faces increasing calls to reconsider easing its restrictions during the festive season.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock Told MPs Monday Last week saw a “very sharp, rapid rise in the virus across parts of London, Kent, Essex and Hertfordshire.”
As a sign that there may be opposition to a change in attitude among the divided countries, Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakford described the four-nation approach to Christmas as a “hard-won deal” and said he would not “easily set it aside”. .
Nicolas Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, told MSP that the country was considering “whether there should be any change” to the festive relaxation.
Health Minister Robin Swann declined to speculate ahead of the talks, saying in the Northern Ireland Assembly: “We will wait to see the outcome of that meeting and what it recommends.”
Labor leader Sir Khair Stormer Boris urges Johnson to reconsider, Call echoed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
The government has lost control of epidemics, affecting our economy and our NHS.
Prime Minister Cobra should be convened to reconsider whether it is appropriate to relax the planned restrictions.
The priority is to allow people to celebrate Christmas safely. pic.twitter.com/AZxKWXTosP
– Khair Stormer (e Keer_Stormer) December 15, 2020
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Sir Khair said that although he understood that people would want to spend time with their loved ones after a “bad year”, the situation had “taken a turn for the worse” since the decision was made about Christmas.
Mr Con Sky told News: “What I’m telling the government is that I do not know if you’ve received it properly.
Two major medical journals have said ministers should “follow the most cautious examples from Germany, Italy and the Netherlands” and not relax the rules.
In a rare joint editorial, the British Medical Journal and the Health Service Journal said, “The government should reverse its poor decision to allow housing mixing, instead extending the layers over a five-day Christmas period.”
The press warned that the government was “going to make another big mistake of losing many lives.”
A spokesman for the prime minister, who spoke at a regular press conference earlier this month, said the government’s “intention” was to allow the three houses to be mixed up for Christmas.
A spokesman said the news would be kept under “constant scrutiny” but ministers wanted to “offer the option to meet with family and friends”.
Conservative MP and former minister Mark Harper, who chairs the COVID Rescue Committee (CRG) for Tory Lockdown suspects, has suggested that MPs should vote if the government wants to change Christmas restrictions.
Raising an order in general, he said: “Madame Deputy Speaker, given the rules governing Christmas, was openly voted on by this House, and if there is any proposal to change them, that decision should not be one only for ministers, but should it be brought back to this House to vote before Christmas?
Deputy Speaker Dame Rosie Winterton responded: “As I understand it, ministers may have the power to change Christmas rules without coming back to the House.
“They have taken that power. You have expressed an opinion that it is desirable if they come back, but as I understand it, they have the power to distinguish them if they feel it is appropriate.”