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Call for uniform lockdown rules across UK over Christmas

Jon Stone
·2-min read
Boris Johnson would need to work with the UK's devolved leaders to agree common rules (PA )
Boris Johnson would need to work with the UK's devolved leaders to agree common rules (PA )

The government is facing calls to ensure coronavirus restrictions are the same across the whole UK over the Christmas period

Liberal oposition politicians say travel between the four nations is "inevitable" and that policymakers should acknowledge this when designing the rules.

The call, in a letter to the government from the Liberal Democrats and their Northern Irish counterparts the Alliance Party, says a "four-nations summit" between the devolved governments should be convened to agree a common plan.

It comes amid reports that the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) believes that all of England will likely require a full lockdown by mid-December.

The Sun newspaper says scientific advisors have told the government that all areas of the country will see levels of infection surpassing those currently found in Tier 3 areas - effectively requiring a national lockdown.

Hospital admissions are expected to more than double by mid-November to 25,000, from the current total of 9,199.

The letter calling for uniform rules was signed by the leaders of the UK, Scottish and Welsh Lib Dems, as well as the Alliance Party.

Sir Ed Davey, the UK Lib Dem leader, said: "No one country can manage this challenge in isolation. The fractured rules across the UK have already been incredibly difficult to piece together."

There may be reticence from the devolved nations to follow the UK government's lead, however. The Scottish and Welsh governments have enjoyed strong support off the back of their handling of the crisis.

Responding to the letter calling for a uniform approach, a Downing Street spokesman said: "The PM has been clear of his ambition to ensure that people may celebrate Christmas as a family this year.

"That's why we have introduced a range of measures in order to control the spread of the virus, reduce the R rate and save lives."

A Scottish government spokesperson said the rules for Christmas would be based on the latest scientific advice at the time, while the Welsh government pointed to its "firebreak: restrictions which it said should clear a path to a less restricted Christmas by surpassing the virus.

The discussion comes ahead of the imposition of new lockdown rules across Nottingham and parts of its surrounding county. Rushcliffe, Gedling and Broxtowe are set to face the toughest restrictions from one minute past midnight on Thursday.

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