Good Morning Britain viewers were split in their response to a panellist who said the rule of six should be cancelled for Christmas.

In a debate on the morning news programme, presented by Adil Ray and Ranvir Singh on Wednesday, three guests debated whether the rule of six should stay or go for the festive season.

Politicians have made various calls for a consensus - with Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey calling for a four-nation Covid planning summit to "maximise the chances of Christmas being as near normal as possible."

However, Environment Secretary George Eustice said it is “far too early” to set out guidelines about Christmas. He told Radio 4's Today programme: "It’s far too early to say exactly where things will be by Christmas, but the Prime Minister’s made clear he wants people to be able to have a Christmas that’s as close to possible as normal"

Fashion designer and business owner Bushra Shaikh was debating with TV presenter Jamie East and Susan Michie, a professor of health psychology and the director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at University College London on GMB on Wednesday.

The rule of six is part of the coronavirus restrictions in England, limiting contact with people in inside and outside locations, dependent on the area you live in and the Covid alert level.

Tier 1 areas, or areas with a medium Covid alert level, can meet in groups of six friends or family in indoor or outdoor locations.

However, those in tier 2 (high Covid alert level) can only meet outdoors, with a limit on your household or support bubble indoors, and in tier 3 (very high Covid alert level) it is household or support bubble in outdoor locations as well as indoors.

With a public debate over the rule of six at Christmas ongoing, GMB held a panel debate on Wednesday morning, and Bushra Shaikh told viewers: "I'm just gonna say frankly how it is, I'm literally gonna be considering breaking the rules for six.

"I'm only saying what 50%, 51% of the population are actually thinking. This is a really, really tough time.

"Like, you can't treat this country like children at the end of the day as I'm concerned. I know what's what's best for my family. I know how I can apply the rules to my family."

"You know, why does it have to be that one rule fits everybody. It's a special occasion. It's coming soon, like we need to have a little bit of joy. It's been really, really tough."

TV presenter Jamie East responded to the debate with a strong comeback. He said: "I can't believe what I'm hearing, this 'I know better than a virus' - you don't know better than a virus, I'm sorry."

"For the past eight months people have gone through all sorts of horrific pain. People have had their dead relatives buried by strangers, and you want to give all that up for a roast dinner. It's absolute madness.

"It's not a football match at Christmas Day in 1914. It's a virus that's killed millions of people, get over yourself."

And Professor Susan Michie told the panel that a 'risk management' approach might be better.

She said: "when [the] rules appear inconsistent to people, then [people are] more likely to break them.

"And the issue is that six, this rule of six doesn't really match with many people's family networks.

"And also people do need hope they need something to look forward to. People have been looking forward to Christmas. So I think we need to shift the whole narrative away from rules and breaking rules.

"In fact, the great majority of people are mostly obeying the rules still, people want to get out of this pandemic. But I think we should shift to a risk assessment and risk management, where we give the responsibility and control to people to have a risk budget for their family over the Christmas period.

She added that it's important people understand what a risky situation is, and how to mitigate it.

She said: "the more risky situations will be more people over longer time, closer together, indoors rather than outdoors. So ventilations really important. And also small things like we know that if somebody is infected, and if they're singing or shouting, speaking loudly - that's more likely to transmit the virus.

"So we could take this whole period as a time to really have a new way of educating people about the basic principles of how we reduce this transmission. And bring people into a conversation, consult with them, listen to them about what's going to work over the Christmas period, and keep people together rather than having rules that appear unfair and arbitrary."

GMB guests Jamie East, Bushra Shaikh and Professor Susan Michie
GMB guests Jamie East, Bushra Shaikh and Professor Susan Michie

GMB viewers had their say over the debate on social media, with some people backing Bushra.

One twitter user, @helicoptersqua1, said: "Yep, il enjoy Xmas as normal with my family, end of."

Gaynor Price said: "I have 4 children and 13 grandchildren and that’s without counting my brothers and sister and 94yr old mum, I play by the rules but no one will keep me away from them at Xmas, not even the grinch"

And @gigglechops74 added: "I’ve stuck by rules for 8 months, don’t hug, became a recluse, hardly see family, rarely go in a shop, don’t go to the pub or the cinema... but I WILL be with family at Xmas!"

But @Chloe_is_gaming said: "If people could be trusted to be sensible and think of others then we wouldn't need all these rules. Unfortunately 51% of people in the UK still insist on behaving like children hence being treated like them."

And @Cookiegirlbb said: "OMG it’s one Christmas. I’d rather miss one Christmas and have another 20 with all my family in good health later. When did everyone become so religious! Or are people just thinking about having presents and parties"

@MarkFelstead5 added: "I can’t even believe people are thinking like this, it’s a virus, you're not going to beat it with a train of thought like this, totally disgusted."

And another posted: "There is no right or wrong answer. We’re all hurting and this won’t go away until a vaccine is available. For me Christmas is cancelled and there is no Christmas joy after the year we’ve all had. I can’t see us bringing the R rate down in the lead up to Christmas"

And @Petra_ZWG said: "@jamieeast was my favourite person on the show this morning. People need to get over themselves for the greater good. It is ONE b****y Xmas we are talking about - in order to enjoy ALL the future Xmases as normal."

Good Morning Britain is on ITV weekdays from 6am.