BORIS Johnson was fighting to save Christmas last night amid demands not to relax Covid restrictions.
Medics and Scots and Welsh politicians want the five-day rules break axed or cut as cases rise.
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The PM is ready to beef up warnings about being vigilant this Christmas in an effort to avoid scrapping the break in Covid restrictions.
Boris’ spokesman said: “Our intention to allow families and friends to meet up remains.”
Talks led by Michael Gove with the home nations ended in deadlock on whether to keep Christmas “bubbles” allowing three households to mix.
Sources close to the talks said nothing firm was agreed, with decisions expected today.
THE FIGHT BEFORE XMAS
The leaders also discussed whether to change the bubble sizes.
It is understood the UK Government is not keen on changing the Christmas rules in law, but is considering how best to strengthen the message and urge people not to travel unless they really have to.
The PM is set to urge families to isolate before joining their Christmas bubble, The Telegraph reports.
And the Government is to warn against visiting elderly relatives, according to The Times.
But Scotland appears to be keen to toughen up the rules.
One source on the call said: “Everything was discussed — from status quo to perhaps looking at other options.
“The options we are looking at are a range of things like possibly changing the number of days or possibly changing the number of people who can meet. It’s really a very, very fine balance.”
Scots First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh leader Mark Drakeford both strongly hinted they wanted to cut the Christmas window or even axe it.
Ms Sturgeon hinted Scotland could take its own action even if it was different from the Government’s.
And more pressure was heaped on the PM after respected medical journals the BMJ and HSJ joined forces to warn the Christmas plans were rash and would cost lives.
They said: “When government devised the current plans to allow household mixing over Christmas it had assumed the Covid-19 demand on the NHS would be decreasing.
“But it is not, it is rising, and the emergence of a new strain of the virus has introduced further potential jeopardy.”
Another 506 deaths were recorded, bringing the UK’s toll to 64,908.
Downing Street insisted it would go ahead with the festive plan despite London, parts of Essex and Hertfordshire being put under Tier 3 curbs from midnight last night.
The PM’s official spokesman yesterday said data would be kept under constant review but that the Government wanted to give families and friends the option to meet up.
He told a Westminster briefing: “As we always have done throughout the pandemic, we keep that under constant review but our intention to allow families and friends to meet up over the Christmas period remains.”
He refused to say when families could make arrangements with confidence that the plans will not change.
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Earlier, minister Steve Barclay urged people to “do the minimum” seeing family and friends this Christmas, a stark watering down of the Government’s message.
A UK Government source stressed there were “no plans” to change the Christmas rules.
But other European countries have announced stricter rules over Christmas than the UK.
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