Three households will be allowed to mix for up to five days in a plan to allow families to reunite at Christmas, government sources said.

Ministers from across the UK are meeting to consider plans to allow families to reunite over Christmas.

A Cobra meeting bringing together the UK Government and the devolved administrations is being held to agree on a four-nation approach to relaxing coronavirus restrictions over the festive period.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously acknowledged there would be risks of letting people meet over Christmas but said families should have the chance to reunite.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps earlier said Christmas travellers should plan journeys carefully and prepare for restrictions on passenger numbers.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said those travelling back for Christmas should pre-book tickets as the capacity of services remains reduced to allow for social distancing.

Mr Shapps also highlighted Network Rail's plans for a series of upgrades and routine maintenance across Britain between 23 December to 4 January.

Yesterday, the prime minister confirmed tougher tier restrictions would come into action when England's lockdown endsnext Thursday (December 2). 

Gyms and non-essential shops in all parts of England will be allowed to reopen from 2 December under a strengthened three-tiered system.

Basingstoke, Andover and other parts of the country will not find out which tier they are in until Thursday.

The prime minister said the decision will be based on a number of factors including case numbers, the reproduction rate - or R number - and pressure on local NHS services.

Updates to follow