Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has said some areas in England could have their coronavirus restrictions eased before Christmas.

Mr Jenrick said there was “every reason” to believe some places could see a change when the current tiers are reviewed in mid-December.

“It is possible. There will be a review point in 14 days’ time, around December 16. At that point we – advised by the experts – will look at each local authority area and see whether there is potential to move down the tiers,” he told Sky News.

“There were a number of places which were quite finely balanced judgments where they were on the cusp of different tiers. Those are the places that are more likely to be in that position.

“We have also got to bear in mind that there will be an opening over the Christmas period which is likely to drive some higher rate of infection if some people choose to go and meet family and friends on Christmas Day and the days surrounding it.

“Our overall approach is trying to insure the tiers hold the line and that places are in a process of de-escalation. What we don’t want to do is ease up too quickly and then find that in January we are having to put tiers back in place again.

“But there is every reason to believe that places could see a change at December 16-17 time.”

More than 55 million people face tougher coronavirus restrictions in England.

Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – accounting for little over 1% of England’s population – face the lightest Tier 1 restrictions.

Large swathes of the Midlands, North East and North West are in the most restrictive Tier 3, but the majority of people – including London – will be in Tier 2.

Some 23.3 million people – 41.5% of the population of England – will be in Tier 3, while 32 million people – 57.3% – will be in the second tier.

In Tier 1, the rule of six applies indoors and outdoors, people are urged to work from home if they can and pubs are limited to table service.

In Tier 2, restrictions include a ban on households mixing indoors, while pubs and restaurants will only be able to sell alcohol with a “substantial meal”.

Tier 3 measures mean a ban on households mixing, except in limited circumstances such as in parks.

Bars and restaurants will be limited to takeaway or delivery services and people will be advised to avoid travelling outside their area.

In all areas, shops and schools will remain open.

Areas placed in Tier 3 from December 2 include:

– In the North East: Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar and Cleveland, Darlington, Sunderland, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside and County Durham.

– In the North West: Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen.

– In Yorkshire and The Humber: The Humber, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire.

– In the West Midlands: Birmingham and Black Country, Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull.

– In the East Midlands: Derby and Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, Leicester and Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.

– In the South East: Slough, Kent and Medway.

– In the South West: Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.

Case rates are currently rising in only eight of the 119 areas to go into Tier 3.

Seven of the eight are in south-east England: Dover, Folkestone & Hythe, Gravesham, Maidstone, Medway, Tonbridge & Malling, and Tunbridge Wells. The other is Hyndburn in north-west England.

MPs will vote on the new system on December 1, the day before the tiers come into force, and Mr Johnson faces a revolt on the Tory benches over the measures.

A member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has warned there is limited scope for easing coronavirus restrictions in England before Christmas.

Professor John Edmunds said they will have had little chance to assess how well the new tiered controls were working when they come up for the first 14-day review in mid-December.

“I think that is quite an early time to be able to see what the effect has been. I think we will still be seeing the effect of the lockdown at that point in time,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“For me I think that is quite an early review stage. I can’t imagine there will be huge changes at that point just simply because I don’t think we will have accumulated much data by then.”