Santa can deliver presidents without vaccine or self-isolation, says minister


Father Christmas can deliver presents to houses across the UK without having to be vaccinated or to self-isolate on his return home to the North Pole, a minister has said.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg told concerned MPs that Santa Claus will be allowed a travel corridor to deliver presents to families across the country in a few weeks time and "won't have to be vaccinated".

Asked for further reassurances that the elves will be able to resume their usual positions helping in Santa's workshop this year amid Covid restrictions, Mr Rees-Mogg clarified that they count as "key workers".

He added he was "not entirely sure" if the elves would have to wear face coverings while carrying out their duties.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Jacob Rees-Mogg

There remains slight confusion around Santa's vaccination status, as earlier on Thursday, deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said he would be "at the top of the list".

Prof Van-Tam told the BBC: "Oh, absolutely. The JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) made a very special case for Father Christmas and he is going to be absolutely at the top of our list."

In business questions, shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz said: "I know we had transport questions earlier... can I ask the minister if he's going to take up – given though there's going to be a border in the Irish Sea – take up what the Government of Ireland have suggested that Father Christmas gets a travel corridor and that he is an essential worker?"

Mr Rees-Mogg replied: "I can also reassure (Ms Vaz) that Father Christmas will be able to have a travel corridor, he will be able to come in, he won't have to be vaccinated.

"I have six children who are waiting with bated breath, who are filling out lists – their lists, you wouldn't believe how long they are. Schleich is very popular with my infant daughter."

Conservative MP Dean Russell (Watford) sought further reassurances that elves will be allowed to work in Santa's workshop.

He said: "I'm sure children around the world, including my own special nieces, were very pleased earlier this week when the Prime Minister shared on Twitter and confirmed that he had spoken to Father Christmas to confirm that he would be bringing joy to the world as he does every year on his sleigh.

"So can (Jacob Rees-Mogg) please confirm that Santa's elves are also able to help in Santa's workshop this year so we can further reassure children around the world not to worry, because Santa is coming this Christmas to bring cheer as he does every year?"

Mr Rees-Mogg responded: "I'm sure the elves are busily working doing their magic work to ensure that the Christmas stockings will be filled for children across the world, and they I think count as key workers, they need to go into work to do their jobs, and whether they have to wear masks or not, I'm not entirely sure, I haven't yet found out.

"But I think we should no doubt have an adjournment debate on this important subject.

"But we can be pleased that Christmas is coming, presents will be delivered and we will be able to see members of our families over Christmas. So I think that is reassuring for one and all."

Mr Rees-Mogg also waded into the debate over whether a Scotch egg counts as a substantial meal.

He told MPs: "We better finish on Scotch eggs because I know it is a matter of great interest.

"I've been looking up the elephant bird. Did you know the elephant bird's egg – it is now extinct – could weigh up to 22lb, which is quite a big egg. And if you turned that into a Scotch egg, I think that would unquestionably be a substantial meal.

"If, on the other hand, you were to take a quail egg and make that into a Scotch egg, I think that would be a mere snack.

"And in between, the great British people will make their mind up along with publicans up and down the country as to whether it is a snack or a substantial meal."

Mr Rees-Mogg said he prefers a Creme Egg to a Scotch egg, as he hinted it could be Easter by the time things return to normality for pubs.

Responding to Conservative MP Shaun Bailey (West Bromwich West), Mr Rees-Mogg said: "Once the pandemic is over and we are allowed to return to what the jargon refers to as wet pubs – but I think are better known as boozers – I think we will all need to support our local boozer when the restrictions are lifted, with or without Scotch eggs.

"Indeed by the time we're back, we may be allowed a Creme Egg, because we'll be heading towards Easter, which I must confess I rather prefer to Scotch eggs."