NICOLA Sturgeon has taken part in crunch talks with Michael Gove and other devolved leaders to “consider what the options are” over relaxing Covid-19 rules at Christmas amid rising case numbers of the virus.

The First Minister took part in a call with Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and the leaders of the devolved administrations on Tuesday evening to discuss the Christmas measures.

Talks will reconvene on Wednesday, the Scottish Government said, with a spokesman adding the call was “a good opportunity to review the position on Christmas and discuss whether the messaging or guidance requires to be reinforced”.

The First Minister has urged the “utmost caution” when rules are relaxed for five days over Christmas. But Ms Sturgeon warned that “there is a case for us looking whether we tighten the flexibilities” such as how many people can meet and for how many days.

As things stand, up to eight people from three households can form a festive bubble for five days between December 23 and December 27.

Speaking earlier today, the First Minister said: “There will be a four-nations discussion later today to take stock of recent developments.

“But, for now, I would urge the utmost caution.

“If you can avoid mixing with other households over Christmas, especially indoors, please do.

“But if you feel it essential to do so – and we have tried to be pragmatic in recognising that some people will – then please reduce your unnecessary contacts as much as possible between now and then.”

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Pressing the First Minister as she confirmed Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and East Lothian will be moved from tier 2 to tier 3 from Friday, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said the four nations "committed in advance to the Christmas relaxation" before waiting to see whether measures in place were effective.

He added that it now looks “pretty clear" that decision was “rash”.

Mr Harvie asked Ms Sturgeon "what position will the First Minister advocate" on her call with Michael Gove later on today.

Ms Sturgeon says the call will "consider what the options are".

She added: "I'm not going into it with a fixed view. But I do think there is a case for us looking whether we tighten the flexibilities that were given any further, both in terms of duration and numbers of people meeting.

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“I will consider the views of the other nations, if we can come to a four-nations agreement I think that would be preferable, if that is not possible we will continue to consider within the Scottish Government what we think is appropriate.”

Wales’ First Minister, Mark Drakeford, described the four nations approach to the festive period as a “hard-won agreement” and said he will “not lightly put it aside”.

The move comes as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer demanded an urgent review into the easing of rules after leading medical journals warned that a lessening of restrictions would “cost many lives”.