Churches may be exempt from restrictive measures over Christmas, as part of the government's latest guidelines on Covid-19. Boris Johnson will reveal his "Covid winter plan" on Monday, which is believed to include a hiatus from restrictions over the Christmas period.
The plan, which is set to be signed off at a Cabinet meeting on Sunday night, will also enforce a stricter "tiered" system across the nation once the current lockdown comes to an end on 2nd December.
In a statement ahead of the Prime Minister's official announcement on Monday, No 10 said the guidance will "set out how people will be able to see their loved ones at Christmas", but warned that this Christmas will still be far from normal.
Other measures may include the allowance of several households – possibly three – to create a temporary bubble between December 22 and 28, so that families can be together at Christmas; the measures would cover all four nations of the UK. In addition, the curfew on pubs and restaurants is set to be extended to 11 pm - last orders will be called at 10 pm, but people will get an extra hour to finish their food and drinks.
Mr Johnson's latest plans still need to be approved by a parliamentary vote, and he faces some opposition from a group of backbench Tory MPs led by former chief whip Mark Harper and High Wycombe MP, and ex-Brexit minister, Steve Baker.
In a letter to the PM, they said that there is "no doubt that Covid is a deadly disease to many and it is vital that we control its spread effectively" but insisted that the government "must give equal regard to other lethal killers like cancer, dementia and heart disease, to people's mental health, and all the health implications of poverty and falling GDP".
The letter continued: "The tiered restrictions approach in principle attempts to link virus prevalence with measures to tackle it, but it's vital we remember always that even the tiered system of restrictions infringes deeply upon people's lives with huge health and economic costs...
"We cannot support this approach further unless the Government demonstrates the restrictions proposed for after December 3 will have an impact on slowing the transmission of Covid, and will save more lives than they cost."
If all 70 MPs in this rebel bloc voted against the measures, and if Labour largely opposed the plan, it may struggle to get through parliament. However, so far, Kier Starmer's party has been broadly supportive of the government's coronavirus legislation.