Greater Manchester mayor calls for vote on more support for Tier 3 areas amid lockdown row

Michael Gove has accused Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham of "posturing" and "political positioning" in refusing to accept strict new COVID-19 rules. The government is currently in a stand-off with Mr Burnham over whether his region should be moved into the highest alert level of the new three-tier system for local coronavirus lockdowns. Before agreeing to tougher Tier 3 restrictions, Mr Burnham has called for greater financial help for firms that would be affected by the move, which would see bars and pubs closed - and likely a number of other businesses. Live coronavirus updates from the UK and around the world Image: Measures under Tiers 1, 2 and 3 of England's lockdown system On Sunday afternoon, Mr Burnham held a "constructive" call with Sir Edward Lister, the prime minister's chief stategic adviser, the mayor's spokesman said. Advertisement Mr Burnham also wrote to Boris Johnson, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and other Westminster party leaders to ask for their help in "breaking the impasse and finding a fair resolution". He urged them to "establish a cross-party consensus on what constitutes a fair financial framework for people in areas under Tier 3 restrictions". More from Covid-19 Mr Burnham called for a "full and fair furlough scheme" covering 80% of wages, or at least the national minimum wage, support for the self-employed, and improved compensation for businesses. The mayor said the "clear national entitlements" similar to during the country's nationwide lockdown in March were essential to create the "sense of fairness" to ensure compliance with new restrictions. Amid an increasingly bitter political row, Mr Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, had earlier risked further inflaming tensions between ministers and the Greater Manchester mayor. Asked if the government would impose Tier 3 restrictions on Greater Manchester even without an agreement, Mr Gove told Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: "I want to reach an agreement with the political leadership in Greater Manchester. "I want them to put aside, for a moment, some of the political positioning that they've indulged in. And I want them to work with us in order to ensure that we save lives and protect the NHS. "An absence of action will mean more people will get infected, and as more people get infected that will place more pressure on the NHS. "And the more people, sadly, in intensive care beds in the North West and in Manchester who are suffering from coronavirus, the fewer intensive care beds are there for people with other serious conditions. "All of this is happening as we move closer to the winter and instead of press conferences and posturing, what we need is action to save people's lives." Image: Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham is in a stand-off with ministers over tougher COVID rules Mr Burnham hit back at Mr Gove and refuted the suggestion he is "playing politics", as he pointed to the fact Greater Manchester was the first part of the country to accept localised COVID-19 restrictions at the end of July. And he accused Boris Johnson of having exaggerated the severity of COVID-19 infections in Greater Manchester. "It's a serious situation but I don't think it was the situation that was described by the prime minister on Friday evening," Mr Burnham told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show. "I think it was an exaggeration of the position that we're in. "Of course it's a matter of concern, and we watch the figures very closely indeed, but the figures have been falling in Manchester itself in the last few days, across Greater Manchester up slightly but certainly not doubling every nine days. "So let's be careful here. I would certainly say this morning let's step back a bit from a war of words." Mr Burnham, a former Labour MP, has not ruled out a legal challenge against the government if Tier 3 restrictions are imposed without greater financial help for businesses. "Anywhere could end up in Tier 3 this winter, in fact I would say places are likely to end up in Tier 3 this winter," he added. "Therefore it's everyone's concern that we protect the lowest-paid in our communities and the self-employed who are left with nothing on the government's current deal." The Greater Manchester mayor also criticised a letter from 20 Conservative MPs, who have called on him to work with the government's regional approach to COVID-19 restrictions in the hope of avoiding another national lockdown. "I'm not sure a sort of 'we're alright Jack' letter from a

Greater Manchester mayor calls for vote on more support for Tier 3 areas amid lockdown row
Michael Gove has accused Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham of "posturing" and "political positioning" in refusing to accept strict new COVID-19 rules. The government is currently in a stand-off with Mr Burnham over whether his region should be moved into the highest alert level of the new three-tier system for local coronavirus lockdowns. Before agreeing to tougher Tier 3 restrictions, Mr Burnham has called for greater financial help for firms that would be affected by the move, which would see bars and pubs closed - and likely a number of other businesses. Live coronavirus updates from the UK and around the world Image: Measures under Tiers 1, 2 and 3 of England's lockdown system On Sunday afternoon, Mr Burnham held a "constructive" call with Sir Edward Lister, the prime minister's chief stategic adviser, the mayor's spokesman said. Advertisement Mr Burnham also wrote to Boris Johnson, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and other Westminster party leaders to ask for their help in "breaking the impasse and finding a fair resolution". He urged them to "establish a cross-party consensus on what constitutes a fair financial framework for people in areas under Tier 3 restrictions". More from Covid-19 Mr Burnham called for a "full and fair furlough scheme" covering 80% of wages, or at least the national minimum wage, support for the self-employed, and improved compensation for businesses. The mayor said the "clear national entitlements" similar to during the country's nationwide lockdown in March were essential to create the "sense of fairness" to ensure compliance with new restrictions. Amid an increasingly bitter political row, Mr Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, had earlier risked further inflaming tensions between ministers and the Greater Manchester mayor. Asked if the government would impose Tier 3 restrictions on Greater Manchester even without an agreement, Mr Gove told Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: "I want to reach an agreement with the political leadership in Greater Manchester. "I want them to put aside, for a moment, some of the political positioning that they've indulged in. And I want them to work with us in order to ensure that we save lives and protect the NHS. "An absence of action will mean more people will get infected, and as more people get infected that will place more pressure on the NHS. "And the more people, sadly, in intensive care beds in the North West and in Manchester who are suffering from coronavirus, the fewer intensive care beds are there for people with other serious conditions. "All of this is happening as we move closer to the winter and instead of press conferences and posturing, what we need is action to save people's lives." Image: Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham is in a stand-off with ministers over tougher COVID rules Mr Burnham hit back at Mr Gove and refuted the suggestion he is "playing politics", as he pointed to the fact Greater Manchester was the first part of the country to accept localised COVID-19 restrictions at the end of July. And he accused Boris Johnson of having exaggerated the severity of COVID-19 infections in Greater Manchester. "It's a serious situation but I don't think it was the situation that was described by the prime minister on Friday evening," Mr Burnham told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show. "I think it was an exaggeration of the position that we're in. "Of course it's a matter of concern, and we watch the figures very closely indeed, but the figures have been falling in Manchester itself in the last few days, across Greater Manchester up slightly but certainly not doubling every nine days. "So let's be careful here. I would certainly say this morning let's step back a bit from a war of words." Mr Burnham, a former Labour MP, has not ruled out a legal challenge against the government if Tier 3 restrictions are imposed without greater financial help for businesses. "Anywhere could end up in Tier 3 this winter, in fact I would say places are likely to end up in Tier 3 this winter," he added. "Therefore it's everyone's concern that we protect the lowest-paid in our communities and the self-employed who are left with nothing on the government's current deal." The Greater Manchester mayor also criticised a letter from 20 Conservative MPs, who have called on him to work with the government's regional approach to COVID-19 restrictions in the hope of avoiding another national lockdown. "I'm not sure a sort of 'we're alright Jack' letter from a group of southern Conservative MPs is going to cut much ice here," Mr Burnham said. Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player Will people die as a result of politicians 'squabbling'? Altrincham and Sale West MP, Sir Graham Brady, who is also the chair of the influential 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers, told BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House that Greater Manchester's Labour and Conservative MPs were "pretty united" in opposing Tier 3 restrictions. Mr Burnham later tweeted to say Mr Gove "needs to pick up the phone to Sir Graham". Kate Green, Labour's shadow education secretary, told Sophy Ridge that Greater Manchester should go into Tier 3 restrictions, but said her party's preference would be for a national "circuit breaker" lockdown. "That will be more effective, more quickly, than this constant patchwork of checking in and then never being able to check out of local restrictions that people don't understand and where already we can see they are not proving effective," she said. Let's block ads! (Why?)