Politicians from the Liberal Democrats and Labour have called for urgent action from the government over Covid-19 to help “save Christmas”.
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”.
Ashworth said the government have “lost a window of opportunity” for a national lockdown over the holidays, which its scientific advisers and the Labour Party had been requesting for “two weeks or so”.
Speaking on Times Radio, he said government sources are planning for a Tier 3 lockdown in most areas of the country “at some point in November”.
When asked if he thought families would be able to meet in groups of more than six on Christmas Day, he said: “That’s in the hands of all of us, and in the hands of the decisions it (the Government) makes in the next week or so about what they’re going to do to get on top of this virus.
“I think because they’ve missed this window of opportunity over the half term, I’m worried now that what we’ll see is deeper, more drastic lockdown action over November and December, which sadly probably does put Christmas at risk.
“The government have got to do something quickly to save Christmas for everybody, because we want people to have a family Christmas, and I think it would be awful if people didn’t have that.”
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey has called for four-nation Covid planning in relation to Christmas, warning people face confusion and complexity over potential restrictions.
Suggesting a four-nation summit, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Well because 2020 has been such a tough year for families across the UK, people losing loved ones, losing their jobs. People had been looking forward to Christmas and I think they’re increasingly worried they won’t be able to be with many of their families and friends at Christmas as normal.
“So we want the governments of the four nations to come together, to look ahead, to get ahead of the game and plan measures so that we can maximise the chances of Christmas being as near normal as possible and it means they’ve got to take steps now together and if they do then maybe Christmas won’t be cancelled.
He added: “We need to see a much greater co-ordination on, for example, what the rules for gatherings might be, what public transport arrangements may be, whether they’ve got to be expanded, for example, how the policy of getting students back to families will be.
“I think if they don’t come together there’s a danger that we’ll see confusion, we’ll see complexity and people won’t get a clear message.”