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Christmas relaxation of UK coronavirus rules set to go ahead as planned

Entertainer Lionel Blair, 92, receives the first of two injections with a dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech covid-19 vaccine at a NHS vaccine centre that has been set up in the grounds of the horse racing course at Epsom in Surrey. Pic by Steve Parsons

By David Hughes, PA Political Editor

Plans to allow families and friends to mix over Christmas will go ahead but there will be stronger warnings about the risks of spreading coronavirus.

Talks between the UK Government and leaders of the devolved administration are understood to have backed the planned relaxation of restrictions despite warnings from medical experts about the dangers.

Senior Cabinet minister Michael Gove and leaders from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland continued talks this morning to agree the approach.

They are understood to be working on a joint statement, indicating that a four-nations approach will continue.

The discussions come after Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said that it would be up to people to make a “personal judgment” whether they wanted to meet up with vulnerable family members over the holiday period.

He suggested that some people may decide to “keep it small” and put off larger gatherings until the spring, saying: “Easter can be the new Christmas.”