BORIS Johnson will organise a four-nations summit to save Christmas, the First Minister of Wales claimed today.
Mark Drakeford said he’d received a letter from the PM informing him that cabinet minister Michael Gove would be hosting a round-table bringing the UK together to come up with a plan.
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He said at a press conference today the nations “need to get round the table together” and share ideas about how it would best work.
But no meeting date has yet been pinned down, he added.
Mr Drakeford said: “I would like to see as common an approach as we can craft together, while recognising the state of the virus differs in different parts of the UK.
“The Prime Minister wrote to me at the start of this week and said that I would be receiving an invitation from Michael Gove to a discussion on a common approach to Christmas across the United Kingdom.
“We’ve done our best to try to secure that meeting this week. It hasn’t yet been forthcoming.”
The PM was urged to host a summit earlier this week by Lib Dem boss Ed Davey.
He said today: “With so many families desperate to be back together this festive season, we simply cannot allow political bickering and fractured guidance to confuse and divide people.
“These meetings must be more than just a publicity stunt. They must result in comprehensive uniform guidance for family gatherings, as well as a common approach to transport, student return and asymptomatic testing – and it must happen urgently.”
It comes as:
- The latest ONS study showed one in 100 people are estimated to have had the virus in the week to October 23
- Foreign Sec Dominic Raab warned today Britain could face a French-style lockdown if the local ones did not work
- No10 is now considering a Tier 4 in which only schools and essential shops remain open and travel is limited to getting to work and classes
- Scientists pressed for further national action as cases continue to rise
- West Yorkshire will enter Tier 3 on Monday, as Nottinghamshire becomes the place in England with the strictest rules today
- London could go into Tier 3 within weeks, it was feared, and Birmingham is also set for new measures
Shops, bars, restaurants and gyms will reopen in Wales when the firebreak lockdown ends on November 9, he revealed today.
Pupils will return to schools, churches and places of worship will resume services and community centres will allow small groups to meet safely indoors.
But the whole of the country will be under one approach, rather than confusing local rules, he added.
There have been a further 1,737 cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in Wales, and 11 more deaths today, he added.
Earlier this week a Government minister ruined hopes for Christmas as he said the rule of six was likely to stay in place over then.
Environment Sec George Eustice said: “We want people to have a Christmas that is as close to normal as possible.
“I’m sure people will be able to have a good Christmas – but they may not be able to get together in the large groups they normally would.”
And he said that if police patrols were needed, cops would step in.
And gloomy modelling from the Government’s scientific advisers warned that everywhere could be under Tier 3 rules – meaning no mixing of households – by the end of the year, effectively cancelling Christmas.
Sir Patrick Vallance is said to be calling for more action to tackle the cases ahead of the festive season.
But the PM has repeatedly ruled out so-called ‘circuit breaker’ lockdowns for the whole country to close down again, saying they wouldn’t work.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the Government’s failure to use the half-term for a circuit-breaker lockdown means they now need to “do something quickly to save Christmas”.
Gloomy numbers from Sage scientists paint a grim picture of the next few months.
No10 assumes the death toll this winter is going to be worse than that experienced by the UK in the spring.
A government source said: “The latest Sage numbers are utterly bleak.”