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Victoria Derbyshire sorry for Christmas rule-breaking comments

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Victoria Derbyshire has apologised after saying she would break the rule of six so her family could celebrate Christmas together.

The BBC presenter previously told the Radio Times her family of seven knew the risks and would be "sensible" but "we have to be together at Christmas".

However, she later said her comments had been "wrong" and "hypothetical".

She added that her family would "continue to follow whatever rules are in place" on 25 December.

In a tweet on Tuesday morning Derbyshire wrote: "I'm starting the day by saying I'm sorry: a few weeks ago the Radio Times asked me (amongst other things) what would potentially happen at Christmas with my own family if the rule of six was still in place.

"I talked about my mum, her partner and my dad-in-law spending it with us - making seven in our home in a Tier One area (medium). It was hypothetical - however I was totally wrong to say it and I'm sorry."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Derbyshire has a family of four plus her mum, her mum's partner and her husband's dad. It is not clear if the rule of six will apply at Christmas.

The journalist previously told the Radio Times: "If the rule of six is still in place... we're breaking it to have the rule of seven. We just are."

"It's fine. We'll do it knowing what the risks are. We're not stupid," she added.

"We're going to be sensible and buy a thermometer gun. But we have to be together at Christmas.

"It feels almost irresponsible saying that, but I don't think we're alone in feeling that way.

"We need to see my elderly mum and my husband's elderly dad. We just do."

She added that her mum lives in Bolton while she lives in London, so she hadn't been able to see her regularly during the lockdown.

Bolton is currently under tier three coronavirus restrictions, while London moved from tier one to two on 17 October.

What is the rule of six?

The rule of six makes it illegal for groups of more than six people to meet up in England.

It allows people to meet up in private homes, indoors and outdoors, and places such as pubs, restaurants, cafes and public outdoor spaces - but only in those areas in the tier one, medium alert level, category.

Variations of the rule of six apply in tier two and three areas where lockdown rules are tighter. For example, in areas in the very high tier three category people are only allowed to meet in outdoor public spaces, such as parks.

The rule does not apply to schools, universities and workplaces, or weddings, funerals and organised team sports, which have different rules on maximum numbers.

People who ignore police could be fined £200 for the first offence, doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £6,400.

It is Boris Johnson's "ambition" for people to celebrate Christmas with their families, his spokesman said recently.

The prime minister is "hopeful" that "some aspects of our lives" could be "back to normal" by then, he added.

image copyrightPA Media
image captionChristmas could have a very different feel this year

But a scientific adviser to the government warned that, without taking action, a normal Christmas was "wishful thinking in the extreme".

The warning came after tougher rules were enforced for nearly six million Britons - including a lockdown in Wales.

The rule of six makes it illegal for groups of more than six people to meet up in England indoors or outdoors.

But the rules can be even stricter according to what tier you are in. For example, if you are in tier two in England, you cannot meet people socially indoors if you do not live with them, whether in private homes, pubs or restaurants.

Wales is under a national circuit-breaker lockdown until 9 November.

Scotland recently introduced a new five-tier system and Northern Ireland also have their own restrictions.

Derbyshire's Bafta-winning current affairs show on the BBC was axed in March amid cuts.

In the summer, she fronted a Panorama programme to highlight domestic violence during the pandemic.

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