Boris Johnson has apologised for muddling up his own coronavirus rules on social gatherings.
The prime minister was questioned about the latest COVID-19 restrictions coming into force for northeast England from midnight on Wednesday.
At first, he said people could meet indoors and outdoors in groups of six in areas where no additional coronavirus restrictions are in place.
But speaking during a news conference in Exeter, he claimed: “In the North East and other areas where extra tight measures have been brought in, you should follow the guidance of local authorities.
“It’s six in a home or six in hospitality but as I understand it, not six outside.”
That is at odds with what residents have been told in Northumberland, Newcastle, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham.
Official guidelines warn people living there “not to mix with people outside their household or bubble in indoor settings, including pubs and restaurants”.