Sajid Javid reveals snogging his wife under mistletoe is ‘family tradition'

Sajid and Laura Javid at the Conservative Party conference in 2018 (PA)

The government will not be outlawing snogging under mistletoe this Christmas, Sajid Javid said in revealing that the kiss is an annual tradition for him and his wife.

The health secretary said it is a “Javid family tradition” for the pair to kiss under mistletoe when he said it was none of the government’s business if people choose to kiss strangers.

The discussion comes after reports of Christmas parties being cancelled amid concerns over the omicron variant of coronavirus.

Some scientists have also warned that the risk of a fourth wave of Covid is too large for people to be attending big Christmas celebrations.

The British Medical Association has said people should be encouraged to “avoid large groups” and meet outdoors where possible.

As the true threat of the variant has yet to be fully known, work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey said earlier this week that “snogging under the mistletoe” is something that should be avoided with “people you don’t already know”.

But Mr Javid said that Ms Coffey’s views were not shared by the rest of the government.

He told ITV News: “People can snog who they wish. I’ll certainly be kissing my wife under the mistletoe – it’s a Javid family tradition.

“It’s got nothing to do with the government who you kiss or anything like that. But the only thing is just – there’s guidance already out there – just be cautious and enjoy yourselves.”

Earlier, business minister George Freeman had let it be known that he hadn’t been kissed under the mistletoe “for years”.

Speaking to LBC he said: “We’re trying not to tell everyone who they should kiss or where they should go.

“I think Therese Coffey was making the point that we’re all going to have to exercise some common sense and I think the British public know that, in the end, it is up to all of us.

“If we can prevent the virus from spreading, we’ll all be able to enjoy more freedoms and that’s why we have taken the steps we have.”

Before that, Ms Coffey’s comments had attracted criticism from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who said that the government was confused over their own ministers’ stances on Christmas Covid policy.

He said: “I don’t think it’s the role of government to dictate who people can kiss or not kiss, and I was quite surprised to see that suggestion come out of government.

“I think it just demonstrates how they’re [at] sixes and nines if that’s what they're now discussing.”

On Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said it was unnecessary to cancel Christmas events or change their normal behaviour, but that people ought to follow mask-wearing and self-isolation rules.

He said “we don’t want people to feel that they need to start cancelling things” and insisted that “Christmas this year will be considerably better than Christmas last year”.

On Wednesday, he did not deny – in face of criticism – that government officials held many Christmas events last year in Downing Street at a time when the rest of the country were told to limit the number of people in one indoor space to six.

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