North declares war on No10 as Manchester mayor threatens to SUE Boris if he tries to force city into Tier 3


THE NORTH has declared war on No10 as the Manchester Mayor has threatened to SUE Boris Johnson if they are forced into a Tier 3 lockdown.

Andy Burnham said if Greater Manchester was given drastic new measures by the Government it would be “by imposition, not consent”.

Manchester local leaders have pushed back against a Tier 3 lockdown

Andy Burnham has threatened to sue Boris if pubs and restaurants have to close

A spokesperson for No10 said this lunchtime the PM was continuing to have discussions with local leaders to try and make sure the areas with the worst outbreaks would have the most stringent measures.

The spokesperson said they were trying to build a “strong local consensus” for new measures.

But the approach appears to have failed as Mr Burnham refused to take any further restrictions and will go down every possible route to stop them.

He said in a press conference today: “We are law abiding people, we would respect the law of the land.

“But we would consider other routes, legal routes, where we could protect our many thousands of residents who are going to be left in severe hardship in the run up to Christmas.

“We would not just leave them in the lurch, we would try and support them and that would include any legal action we could take on their behalf.”

Despite his insistence not to allow Manchester’s pubs and bars to be closed in a Tier 3 lockdown, Mr Burnham has toed the Labour party line and asked for a national “circuit breaker” lockdown.

He said it would be a “better and fairer way” of fighting the surge in coronavirus.

But Downing Street said: “We are very focused on targeting the most stringent measures in the places where the virus is surging in order to get the virus down and that is the logical thing to do. 

“We are having ongoing discussions with local authorities and local leaders in the areas where we have the greatest concerns about the further steps we can take.”

It comes as:

  • Boris Johnson again refused to call for a national “circuit breaker” lockdown
  • Northern Ireland will go into a “circuit breaker” lockdown from Friday, with all pubs and restaurants to close for FOUR weeks
  • Wales will BAN English people from coronavirus hotspots from crossing the border
  • A new study has said England and Wales suffered one of the highest excess death tolls in the world in the first wave

Mr Burnham said accepting the tough regional measures without further financial help, including an 80 per cent furlough scheme for Manchester’s workers, would be “an act of self-harm”.

He added: “We will not let them be levelled down by this Government through this pandemic.”

But Mr Johnson rejected the idea of national measures again this lunch time, saying a regional approach was essential to stop areas with infection rates as low as 30 cases per 100,000 being forced to shut up shop for weeks at a time.

A slide from Mr Burnham’s press conference on what Tier 3 would look like

Lancashire is also facing a Tier 3 lockdown.

Ministers and top scientists chaired “Gold Meeting” of the Joint Biosecurity Council today and new restrictions could be announced tomorrow.

Latest figures from Monday show there are 449.3 Covid cases per 100,000 in Greater Manchester and 423.4  cases per 100,000 in West Lancashire.

The change would see 3,100 pubs and 475 gyms shut their doors.

And Leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese has pushed back, claiming chief medical officer Chris Whitty and chief scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance should be sacked.

Sir Richard said this morning on Twitter: “I’m all for expert advice but after 7 months of Covid mismanagement maybe we need some new experts.”

The local leader has pushed back strongly against closing pubs and bars, saying they are not the causing widespread outbreaks.

He said last week: “A lot of emphasis has been placed on pubs, bars and restaurants.

“The evidence in Manchester is that these are not major sources of transmission.”



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