Welsh Lib Dem leader joins calls for four nations approach to Christmas travel plans

Jane Dodds MS is calling for a summit to ensure "everyone can spend Christmas with their loved ones" Credit: PA Images

The Welsh Liberal Democrat leader, Jane Dodds, is calling for a four nations approach to be taken when setting guidance for family gatherings at Christmas.

Political leaders across the UK, including the Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, have been warned their governments must "accept the inevitability" that people will travel at Christmas.

She added her name to a letter calling for a joined approach which calls on the four nations to "work across governments to explore workable solutions that can enable travel to happen safely.''

"To manage the implications for public health, we are urging you to hold a four nations summit to co-operate on students' return, to agree uniform guidance on the number of people who can gather, and to explore how best to expand travel options to allow social distancing."

In a tweet on Wednesday morning Ms Dodds called for a summit to sort the issue, saying: "We need a four nations summit to discuss how we ensure everyone can spend Christmas with their loved ones."

Ms Dodds has added her voice to calls for a collaborative approach to Christmas travel planning Credit: PA Images

Other signatories to the letter include the Liberal Democrat leader in England Sir Ed Davey, his Scottish counterpart Willie Rennie and Northern Ireland's Alliance Party.

Despite the UK taking a near uniform approach to lockdown restrictions at the start of the coronavirus crisis in March, largely moving in lockstep, the picture across the country is now more fragmented.

Wales has taken its own path by implementing a 17-day 'firebreak' lockdown.

The Welsh government has also said that a second 'firebreak' lockdown is "likely" in early 2021.

Wales is currently in week one of a 17-day 'firebreak' lockdown Credit: PA Images

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the current lockdown restrictions should ensure a pathway to Christmas "without needing a period of this severity of restraint between now and then".

Last month, the Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams said that allowing students to get home for Christmas was "a priority".

She said at the time: "As a mother who sent her own daughter to university for her first year...believe me there is nothing that I want more than to ensure that students can be at home with their families for Christmas."

However, the First Minister has previously said that the Welsh government would "contemplate" asking students to remain on campus over the Christmas period.

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