This website stores cookies on your computer. These cookies are used to improve your website experience and provide more personalized services to you, both on this website and through other media. To find out more about the cookies we use, see our Privacy Policy. We won't track your information when you visit our site. But in order to comply with your preferences, we'll have to use just one tiny cookie so that you're not asked to make this choice again.

Covid-19: Christmas guidance 'should be same across UK'

Coronavirus restrictions should be the same across all four UK nations this Christmas, the Lib Dems and Alliance Party of Northern Ireland have said.

In a letter, the parties said travel between the nations was "inevitable" during the festive season and anti-Covid policies should acknowledge this.

They have called for a "four-nations summit" to agree a shared plan.

Environment Secretary George Eustice warned "it's too early to say what restrictions will be in place".


"I'm sure we will have a good Christmas," he told the BBC but added that while families will be able to meet, people "may not be able to get together in the larger groups that they usually would".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government has responsibility for health policy - including social distancing, the size of gatherings and other Covid-19 restrictions - in England.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster and Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill each oversee the rules in their respective nations.

This means different restrictions are in place across the UK, which, it is argued, could cause confusion when people move between the different nations during the holidays.

A letter - signed by Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey, as well as Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, Welsh Lib Dem leader Jane Dodds and Alliance Party deputy leader Stephen Farry - asks the national leaders to "accept the inevitability" that people will travel, including between nations.

"It therefore falls on you and your counterparts to work across governments to explore workable solutions that can enable travel to happen safely," it states.

And it calls for a four-nation summit "to co-operate on students' return, to agree uniform guidance on the number of people who can gather, and to explore how best to expand travel options to allow social distancing".

Sir Ed said: "No one country can manage this challenge in isolation. The fractured rules across the UK have already been incredibly difficult to piece together."

Speaking to the BBC, he said there had been "too much point-scoring between different government across the UK" and that co-ordination between the four nations need to be "stepped up".

"Millions of people normally travel across the UK to see their families and they need clear guidance - they are trying to plan Christmas now."

Rule of six

In non-pandemic years, millions of people move around the UK at Christmas time to see friends or families, packing out trains and clogging up motorways.

If household gatherings continue to be limited in number, many of the usual larger gatherings would be illegal this year.

On Tuesday, BBC Presenter Victoria Derbyshire apologised after saying she would break the rule of six so her family could celebrate Christmas together.

She told the Radio Times her family of seven knew the risks and would be "sensible" but "we have to be together at Christmas". She later said her comments had been "wrong" and "hypothetical".

Responding to the Lib Dems and the Alliance Party, a Downing Street spokesman said: "The PM has been clear of his ambition to ensure that people may celebrate Christmas as a family this year.

"That's why we have introduced a range of measures in order to control the spread of the virus, reduce the R rate and save lives."

A Scottish government spokesperson said people would "naturally be anxious" about what celebrations are possible this December, and that the rules would be "guided by the latest available scientific and clinical evidence".

Mr Drakeford has said the current "firebreak" restrictions in Wales should give a pathway to a less restricted Christmas.

And Mrs Foster has promised festivities "will not be cancelled" in Northern Ireland, adding that she is "very much looking forward" to them.

Source: BBC

Share This Post

related posts

On Top