Whitehall tries to ban word 'Christmas' claiming it is not inclusive enough

28 November 2021, 09:35 | Updated: 28 November 2021, 09:41

The row comes as cities around the UK have begun gearing up to the festive season.
The row comes as cities around the UK have begun gearing up to the festive season. Picture: Alamy

By Elizabeth Haigh

Whitehall officials have taken steps to ban use of the word 'Christmas' over fears it is not inclusive enough.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The ban is a response to fears the advert could offend minority religions who do not celebrate Christmas, the Mail on Sunday reported. They tried to have it removed from adverts encouraging students to get tested for covid before returning home.

It comes after Boris Johnson announced stricter rules on face masks and mandatory self-isolation for contacts of suspected Omicron cases, even for those who are double jabbed.

The government had planned a campaign to try and limit the spread of the new variant, encouraging university students to get tested before travelling home at the end of term.

Read more: Omicron variant: PM tightens mask rules and says Christmas will be better this year

But the slogan "Don't take Covid home for Christmas" was blocked by Cabinet Office officials, instead being replaced by "Don't take Covid home for the holidays", according to the newspaper.

Tory MP Saqib Bhatti, who is a Muslim, told the Mail the ban is "ridiculous".

He said: "As a Muslim, I find it ridiculous we can't enjoy this special time of year. I look forward to showing my new son his first Christmas tree."

Read more: What is the Omicron variant and what has Boris Johnson announced?

The dispute comes after two cases of the new Omicron variant were confirmed in the UK yesterday.

The variant is feared to be extremely infectious, as it has double the number of spike protein mutations as the Delta variant.

Travellers returning from abroad will have to take a PCR and self-isolate on their return even if double-jabbed, the PM announced yesterday.