Gordon Brown has told Boris Johnson to “act now” and tell people across the UK how they can spend Christmas together.
The former Prime Minister intervened by urging Johnson to accept that tighter lockdowns may have to be kept in place next month to allow restrictions to be relaxed over Christmas.
Brown said: “I found being prime minister you’ve got to be two steps ahead of events. You cannot be behind the curve. You’ve always got to be anticipating the next problem. And what he’s got to do, Boris Johnson, is say, ‘Look, if there is any doubt about whether we can lower the restrictions at Christmas, we’ve got to act now.’
He added: “ Put in the measures now in the next few days that make it possible for us to make a reasoned decision about what we do in the Christmas week. I think you have to act now. Talking about what happens after Christmas is not as good as talking about what Boris Johnson could do today.”
Minsters from all the devolved nations are in talks with the UK government on how to have a UK-wide approach to Christmas rules but nothing has been decided yet. Politicians are also at loggerheads with scientists over the best approach.
Nicola Sturgeon said Scots may be able to form a Christmas “bauble” over the festive season to allow families to meet indoors.
The First Minister coined the pun as she revealed discussions between devolved administrations and the UK Government were being held on easing some lockdown restrictions next month.
But Brown said that if Ministers are worried that they cannot have a relaxation at Christmas, they need to step in with tight measures now to allow headroom over the festive season.
He told Sky news: “Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Boris Johnson have to get together and find a basis on which we can have common rules so that people can, if it’s possible, travel to see their loved ones in different parts of the country.”
Government scientific advisers have already said publicly that any relaxation of restrictions over Christmas will have to be offset by tighter rules at another point.
UK government Ministers are due to announce next week what will happen when the England-wide lockdown ends on 2 December.
Restrictions in Scotland will be reviewed next Tuesday but level 4 lockdown across most of the central belt is in place until December 11 .