Dominic Raab tells the public they SHOULD 'go to Christmas parties'

Dominic Raab tells the public they SHOULD go to Christmas parties for the ‘social interaction’ – but admits his Ministry of Justice will swap its own festive gathering for ‘appropriate drinks at a smaller scale’

  • The Government was accused of mixed messages over festive gatherings
  • But today Raab said: ‘People should go to the parties, the events’
  • Revealed MoJ has swapped big party for ‘appropriate drinks at a smaller scale’ 

Dominic Raab insisted today that people should go to Christmas parties despite Covid – but admitted his own department will not be having one.

The Justice Secretary spoke out after the Government was accused of mixed messages over festive gatherings.

Last week the Dr Jenny Harries, head of the Health Security Agency, said people should not socialise ‘if you don’t need to’ to keep Covid under control. 

But she was over-ruled by the Prime Minister who later backed parties to go ahead. 

Asked which of them was right on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme today, Mr Raab said: ‘People should go to the parties, the events.’

He added: ‘I don’t have the full context for what she (Dr Harries)  said and of course the scientific advisers, the public health advisers will caveat very carefully what they say, but our message is this. Enjoy Christmas this year. 

‘The vaccine roll out means we’re in a position to do so and  … we’re also saying that employers that can be trusted to take … common sense approach to the facts of the circumstances in their businesses and in their sectors.’

The comments came after he had earlier confirms that his own department would not have a large Christmas party.

The Justice Secretary spoke out after the Government was accused of mixed messages over festive gatherings.

Raab signals no Christmas lockdown 

Dominic Raab gave Britons a Christmas boost today as he suggested there would be no return of tough restrictions brought in to combat Covid during the festive season last year. 

The Deputy Prime Minister said this Christmas would be better than last year, when major restrictions on gatherings were in place, and shops and pubs closed, as he defended tough new travel restrictions.

Mr Raab said that the PCR tests for all arrivals to the UK were vital despite being a ‘burden’ on the travel industry. 

But in an upbeat message he went on to tell Sky News: ‘We are going into this Christmas in a far far better state, we can enjoy Christmas this year in a way we couldn’t last year. 

‘That is a testament to the vaccine programme in particular, the boosters which are protecting us through this winter, the colder months, with also the risk from the variants. So actually I think we have done the right thing.’

Later, appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme: ‘I think it is going to be a great Christmas’. 

He said he would be having ‘appropriate drinks at a smaller scale’ in the Ministry of Justice, in an interview with Sky News.

‘People can go in and have Christmas parties, of course employers will want to think common sense about how they do that,’ he told the Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme.

‘We won’t be having a Ministry of Justice-wide Christmas party this year.

‘We will be having appropriate drinks at a smaller scale. The Government wants people to be able to enjoy Christmas this year.

‘People should feel free to go and enjoy those celebrations and every employer will think about the right way to do it and I’m the same as everybody else.’

Following a week of mixed messaging from his ministers, the Prime Minister admitted there had been ‘quite a lot of to-ing and fro-ing’ on Christmas parties.

But he said it was ‘not right’ that people should consider cancelling seasonal events – saying that the ‘tough measures’ his Government has taken at the borders should see the country through without the need for further curbs. 

Thousands of Christmas parties have been cancelled this week amid fears over the Omicron variant, with confusing messaging from ministers blamed by some.

But last night, the Prime Minister attempted to reassure Britons, saying: ‘On the subject of Christmas parties I notice there’s been quite a lot of to-ing and fro-ing about it; people concerned that they need to cancel their Christmas parties.

‘That’s not right. We’re not saying that. We’re not saying that nativity plays have to be cancelled. I believe very strongly that kids should be in school and I also think that Christmas should go ahead as normally as possible.’ 

He added: ‘What we’re trying to do is cope with the Omicron variant and that means having some tough measures at the borders and also some measures to ensure that people isolate after coming into contact with an Omicron case. Plus we’re toughening up on masks.’

Describing the approach as ‘balanced and proportionate’, he added that vaccines would still provide the ‘best protection’.

Christmas markets, events and bookings for the festive season are worth a staggering £12billion to the British economy, MailOnline revealed last night.

Boris Johnson’s decision to keep the economy open despite concerns over Omicron could be worth £1.1billion to the Christmas markets and winter wonderland industry and more than £10billion to hospitality.

Thousands of Christmas parties up and down the UK are being cancelled amid conflicting advice from ministers over the new variant – a sector of the economy which is thought to be worth around £1billion. 

Business leaders and MPs have urged the Prime Minister to get a grip as they warned public confidence has dropped as a result of mixed messages on whether to press ahead with festive plans. 

The city that generates the most revenue from the festive markets is Manchester at £306million across six city centre squares, followed by Birmingham where the Frankfurt Christmas Market brings in £187million.

London’s Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park is estimated to be worth £119million, followed by Nottingham’s Winter Wonderland at £99million and the markets in Newcastle at £92million and Edinburgh at £88million. 

Other major UK markets include Sheffield at £47million, Belfast at £44million, Glasgow and Bournemouth both at £34million, Exeter at £20million, Bath at £14million, and York and Winchester both at £12million.

The data was previously collected by Where the Trade Buys, a printing firm supplying small businesses who attend markets, to examine the impact of cancellations due the second national lockdown and tiered system. 

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