Wales sparks Christmas chaos with new COVID law in defiance of Boris Johnson

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·2 min read
The Welsh government has defied Boris Johnson by creating its own Christmas law limiting gatherings to two households.
The Welsh government has defied Boris Johnson by creating its own Christmas law limiting gatherings to two households.
  • Wales defies Boris Johnson by creating its own Christmas COVID law

  • It will see festive gatherings limited to two households, rather than three under Johnson’s plan

  • Announcement comes just hours after PM claimed “unanimous agreement” among four UK nations

  • Visit the Yahoo homepage for more stories

Wales has defied Boris Johnson’s Christmas coronavirus plan by creating its own law meaning only two households will be allowed to mix.

It comes just hours after the prime minister claimed there was “unanimous agreement” among the four UK nations to continue to allow three households to gather over the festive period.

The Westminster, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments had previously sought a united approach to its Christmas bubble rules between 23 and 27 December.

But the late intervention by Wales first minister Mark Drakeford on Wednesday afternoon has undermined Johnson’s messaging.

Watch: Boris Johnson says a smaller Christmas is a safer Christmas

Drakeford had earlier said at a press conference that the two household policy would be the “position” of the Welsh government, as opposed to a rule.

Four hours later, however, a government spokesman confirmed the guidance would instead be made into law.

The spokesman said: “It makes it easier, so we don’t have the position where the law says one thing and the guidance says something else.”

That announcement came just minutes after Johnson had tried to sell his Christmas compromise to the nation at a Downing Street press conference.

CARDIFF, WALES - NOVEMBER 08: First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford leaves Cathays Park on November 8, 2020 in Cardiff, Wales.  Remembrance Sunday services are still able to go ahead despite the covid-19 measures in place across the various nations of the UK. Each country has issued guidelines to ensure the safety of those taking part. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
Mark Drakeford (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Amid mounting pushback from experts over the risks of a family Christmas this year, Johnson had been under pressure to tighten – or even abandon – the loosening of rules over Christmas that was announced three weeks ago by the four nations.

The PM ultimately rejected this, saying at the Downing Street briefing that it would be “frankly inhuman” to “ban Christmas”.

However, he also used the press conference to issue a string of warnings about the risks of different households mixing.

Johnson added three households is not a “target”.

“When we say three households can meet on five days, I want to stress these are maximums and not targets to aim for.

“It’s always going to be safest to minimise the number of people you meet.”

Watch: Wales to bring in tighter coronavirus restrictions after Christmas