Christmas chaos is on the horizon as Number 10 said families will be allowed to gather together while a government minister was simultaneously warning 2020's festive period "won't be normal".
In the latest example of confusion during the coronavirus crisis, Downing Street today insisted families should be able to gather even though there are currently tough restrictions on people indoors across much of the UK.
A Number 10 spokesman said: "The PM has been clear previously that he is hopeful that in many ways we could be able to get some aspects of our lives back to normal by Christmas.
"As I say, we've been clear about the ambition to ensure that people may celebrate Christmas as a family this year."
But the comments appeared to contrast with the stance of Treasury Chief Secretary Steve Barclay.
He said: "I think few people expect it to be exactly as it would normally because we will be living with this virus for some time.
"And the chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser have been very clear on that.
"But, your point really was about the ability of families to spend Christmas together – that is something we all hope to be in a position to do."
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Meanwhile, Labour's Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds claimed the only way to save the under-threat festive season was to impose a 'circuit breaker' lockdown now.
That would see tighter restrictions imposed on a national level for a two-week period to try and bring down the rate of infection.
Ms Dodds said: "The tier system has so far not worked to reduce infections.
"What we are looking at unfortunately – given the government doesn't seem to be willing to shift on this when half-term holidays are coming up – what we are looking up to Christmas is an increasingly difficult situation in lots of parts of the country."
Greater Manchester this morning moved into Tier 3, the highest Covid-19 alert level.
Wales begins its two-week 'firebreak' lockdown at 6pm this season while talks are ongoing with a number of other local authorities about whether certain areas will be moved into a higher tier.
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