DEFENCE Secretary Ben Wallace vowed today not to be “the Grinch that stole Christmas” – and the Government would reveal plans for the festive period within days.
It comes after days of speculation about what measures might be in place over the holiday period – with scientists looking at specific dates to see family, and an extension of the rule of six.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
The Sun revealed yesterday the plan could see a five-day window for people to travel and spend time with people from outside their households.
But scientists warned for every day of relaxed rules there may have to be an extra five of tougher ones – raising the prospect of stricter lockdowns in December and January.
It was reported today four households may be able to meet up at once.
No final decisions have yet been made on Christmas celebrations, but the PM has insisted he does want families to be able to be together.
This morning Defence Secretary Mr Wallace told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I don’t want to be the Grinch that stole Christmas – I’m not campaigning for that.
“I would love all of us to be able to have a Christmas, but more than anything I want us to get through this Covid and try and get this country back to normal and I want to protect lives.”
He was unable to say how many people would be able to meet around the table for Christmas dinner this year.
And he stressed that the Government will reveal more plans for the nation’s Christmas within days – but it would be as close to December 2 as possible to gather all the known data first.
“Over the next few days the Government will set out those details,” he said.
England’s month-long ‘stay at home’ order is set to be lifted on December 3 and replaced with a new form of the tiers section, which will be unveiled to MPs next week.
But Government scientists are pushing for the three-tier system to be strengthened in the run-up to Christmas to prevent an upsurge in infections.
Shops, cafes and restaurants are shut across England and people have been told to stay at home as much as they can to stop the virus from spreading.
PHE’s Dr Susan Hopkins said earlier this week that the lower tier 1 wasn’t working – which includes just the rule of six and 10pm curfew.
She hinted it may have to be toughened up, which would mean a ban on household mixing for weeks to come.
Matt Hancock has said it’s still too early to tell if the lockdown is working.
MUM’S GONE TO…GREENLAND
Fish shortages for chippies unless Brexit deal done with Greenland
Mr Wallace told BBC Breakfast that it was best to wait until more information was available before making any calls.
He said: “The best time to make those decisions about how we can get together for Christmas, how we can get through this festive period, is when we have seen the impact of this lockdown on the figures.
“The best time for me to give you better advice, for the Government to make that decision, is as close to the 2nd of December as possible.
“I know some people would wish to know earlier, but if we were to do it now, and the facts were changing on the ground, we’ll end up having to change it again.”