THE Prime Minister has defended his decision to ease Covid restrictions around Christmas, saying people would have celebrated regardless, but what do The Northern Echo readers think?

Boris Johnson said people would have celebrated Christmas even if the rules had not allowed and argued the country’s leaders had struck a “sensible balance”.

The Prime Minister said: “It is an incredibly difficult decision. You’ve got to strike a balance between people’s strong desire to celebrate a family holiday, perhaps one of the most important family holidays of the year – which they frankly are going to do anyway – and the need to keep the virus under control.

“I think it is a sensible balance but it depends, as Chris (Whitty) and Patrick (Vallance) have really tried to stress, on all of us being common sensical and doing the right thing.

“In the end… until the vaccine comes on stream, we are not out of the woods yet and we have to be very vigilant.

“So everybody’s individual behaviour at Christmas will matter a great deal.”

We asked The Northern Echo readers whether they would give up Christmas to prevent a third lockdown and the results were mixed.

Some 82 of you had your say. 

Rachel Mann said: "No! Missed out on so much this year and this "lockdown" hasn't even been a lockdown. Last time everyone was sticking to it, this time people are still going out shopping, schools are still open...

"So my child can go and mix with 60-odd kids five times a week for six-and-a-half hours a day, week in week out, so am sure Xmas will be fine for two days, Xmas day and boxing day, to see my family."

Another reader said lockdowns are like "being in detention" at school.

Mike Walker wrote: "Would I heck... Give up nothing... How dare they take anything from us. It's like being back at school, getting put in detention for hanging out with your pals or family... By all means be sensible and if people want to stay away that's their choice... But life is for living and at the moment this is not living... It's been told what to do and how to do it."

Kim Askew, who is a key worker, said she is working Christmas day but intends to be with her family when she is not. 

She said: "No. I'll be spending Xmas with my family as we have all worked throughout pandemic as key workers, right from the start and barely seen each other."

Gillian Sowerby agreed, commenting "exactly".

However, other readers said they would rather have a holiday early next year and did not want to put additional lives at risk, with Christine Dent saying "it will still be Christmas".

Paul Roberts said: "There will always be another Christmas if we miss this year. If we don't, then some others might not see next year's."

Helen Paterson agreed: "Yes, much as I would hate it, but yes, getting older so is scary especially as a lot of people are ignoring rules and prolonging the damage."

Susan Bowman, acknowledging that the North-East is in the highest tier of Covid restrictions, said: "Might as well it's ruined anyway after yesterday's Tier three announcement, what's the point all the pleasure has been taken out of Christmas."

John Holliday, receiving 12 likes for his comment, wrote: "Yep, every other religion in the country has been forced to give up their equivalent so why can't we...