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Christmas Confusion: Carry On Partying No10 Says After Ministers' Muddled Advice

·2 min read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson applauds the choir as he attends the switch on of the Christmas tree lights outside 10 Downing Street last night. (Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson applauds the choir as he attends the switch on of the Christmas tree lights outside 10 Downing Street last night. (Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS via Getty Images)

Downing Street told the public not to cancel their Christmas parties after a number of ministers gave muddled advice.

The prime minister’s official spokesman insisted that this year’s celebrations are down to “individual judgement”.

It comes after ministers threw government messaging into chaos by giving different advice on how to socialise this Christmas.

This morning science minister George Freeman revealed he had cancelled his work Christmas party and they would instead be marking the festive season via Zoom.

Asked why government departments were cancelling their Christmas parties, the PM’s spokesman said: “The prime minister has been very clear on this. And on Christmas parties, we don’t want people to cancel such events.

“There is no government guidance to that end. It is right that post step four, we return to the position where people can use individual judgement.”

Asked if No10 was having a Christmas party, he replied: “I think, as you know, there was an event for switching on the lights just this week and we continue to set out any future plans.”

Pressed on if there were plans for a party, he replied: “We will host a number of in person events in the run up to the holidays and we’ll update in the normal way.”

Asked what an “in person event” was, he replied: “There’ll be a number of events in Downing Street as we do we’ll set out any detail in the normal way.”

Boris Johnson has told people not to cancel their Christmas parties and health secretary Sajid Javid recommended taking a test beforehand and potentially wearing a mask.

Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey suggested “no snogging” under the mistletoe and Freeman suggested gatherings of “four or five staff”.

It also follows a split between the government and scientific advisers over socialising.

Earlier this week Jenny Harries, head of the UK Health Security Agency, said people should try to reduce their social contacts.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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