Sajid Javid has added to the Christmas confusion as he urged people to be “cautious” if enjoying a festive “snog” – as the health secretary revealed it is a “Javid family tradition” to kiss his wife under the mistletoe.
The Cabinet minister said that “people can snog who they wish” this Christmas – which contradicted a colleague advising against puckering up to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Javid 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.”
'People can snog who they wish... it's got nothing to do with the government who you kiss'@SajidJavid says people should kiss who they want under the mistletoe this Christmas, adding: 'Be cautious and enjoy yourselves' https://t.co/d0jl6CGRB2pic.twitter.com/BCsaIuc3Fi
— ITV News Politics (@ITVNewsPolitics) December 2, 2021
It was the latest instance of mixed messaging over how best to behave over Christmas as the Omicron variant surges.
On Wednesday, work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey told ITV’s Peston programme that “we should all be trying to enjoy the Christmas ahead of us”.
But she said “snogging under the mistletoe” should be avoided with “people you don’t already know”.
Also on Thursday, Downing Street told the public not to cancel their Christmas parties – just hours after science minister George Freeman revealed he had cancelled his work Christmas party and they would instead be marking the festive season via Zoom.
No.10 slapped down Dr Harries’ advice not to socialise where possible by claiming that was not the government’s official advice at the moment.
The latest government minister to say the word “snog” was too much for many.
"kissing my wife is a Javid family tradition" right I'm dead https://t.co/sEKRLj8RW2
— Esther Webber (@estwebber) December 2, 2021
— Ione Wells (@ionewells) December 2, 2021
Also, how do you snog cautiously?
— Kate McCann (@KateEMcCann) December 2, 2021
I am calling for a total and complete shutdown of politicians and journalists saying the word ‘snog’, until our elected representatives can figure out what is going on.
— Mark McVitie (@MarkMcvitie) December 2, 2021
Hang on… snogs are back on again? https://t.co/DJHm7obGHC
— Tamara Cohen (@tamcohen) December 2, 2021
— Brendan May (@bmay) December 2, 2021
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer earlier 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.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.