Michael Gove leads urgent talks over Christmas Covid-19 restrictions

Urgent talks are taking place between the leaders of the devolved administrations and Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove as calls mount to scrap plans for an easing of Covid-19 restrictions over Christmas.

However, Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford described the four nations approach to the festive period as a "hard-won agreement" and said he would "not lightly put it aside".

The move comes as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer demanded an urgent review into the easing of rules after leading medical journals warned that a lessening of restrictions would "cost many lives".

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Pedestrians wearing a face mask or covering due to the Covid-19 pandemic walk along a busy street in London. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images

The planned five-day "Christmas window" would allow three households to mingle between December 23 and 27.

Mr Drakeford told the Welsh Parliament: "I have a meeting later today with the First Minister of Scotland, the First and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland and Michael Gove as the minister in charge of the Cabinet Office, no doubt this issue will be discussed.

"The choice is a grim one, isn't it.

"I think the choice is an incredibly difficult one. At the moment we have a four-nation agreement. I will discuss that later today, we will look at the figures again together."

Labour leader Sir Keir urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to call an emergency meeting of the Government's top level Cobra committee within 24 hours to assess the situation.

The move came as Downing Street said advice to the public was being kept "under constant review".

Sir Keir's intervention followed a rare joint editorial by the British Medical Journal and Health Service Journal calling for the "rash" decision to relax social distancing measures over the festive period to be scrapped.

They said that the Government "is about to blunder into another major error that will cost many lives".

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Labour leader said the Government had "lost control of infections", stating: "I understand that people want to spend time with their families after this awful year, but the situation has clearly taken a turn for the worse since the decision about Christmas was taken.

"It serves no-one for politicians to ignore this fact."


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