Ministers have endorsed a shared objective of introducing a limited period during Christmas that will allow families to get together and form bubbles with a small number of friends and relatives, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The Cabinet Office said the objective was agreed on after talks with the devolved administrations over the weekend. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out the basis of the plans on Monday.
Mr Johnson will also announce that the current national lockdown in England will come to an end as planned on 2 December, only for the country to revert to a “strengthened” three-tier system, similar to the one in place before the lockdown. However details of which areas will be in which tier will only be confirmed on Thursday.
Meanwhile the prime minister is facing a revolt by Tory backbenchers who have warned him they would not back such a move without scientific evidence. Around 70 Tory MPs are said to have signed a letter demanding a cost-benefit analysis to show restrictions “will save more lives than they cost”.