UK Politics

‘We won’t break the law’: Burnham would accept Tier 3 if imposed on Greater Manchester

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Andy Burnham says he will keep to the law and "accept" Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions for Greater Manchester if the government imposes them.

The region's mayor told Sky News it was ministers' "prerogative" to announce the measures, if negotiations over the next few hours end in stalemate.

He and other local leaders have been given until midday today to reach an agreement on moving three million people into England's highest band of coronavirus controls.

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19:  People make their way to work past an electronic Covid-19 warning sign advises people entering Manchester city centre on October 19, 2020 in Manchester, England. Greater Manchester's leaders including Mayor Andy Burnham will want better financial arrangements for workers affected before they agree for the region to be moved into a Tier 3 Covid-19 lockdown. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Image: The government has set a deadline of midday

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said last night there have been 10 days of talks in "good faith" but they are still in deadlock.

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If there is no breakthrough, he suggested Prime Minister Boris Johnson could impose measures unilaterally as COVID-19 spreads through Greater Manchester and public health "continues to deteriorate".

Responding, Mr Burnham told Kay Burley: "We wouldn't break the law… We would obviously have to accept that decision, in the end it's the government's prerogative."

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But he warned the change would hurt "the lowest paid in society" like pub workers and taxi drivers, so Downing Street needs to pledge more financial support for firms forced to stop trading.

A man wearing a face mask in Manchester city centre as the row over Greater Manchester's coronavirus status continues.
Image: The mayor is fighting for more financial support for firms and workers

"If you're going to impose a lockdown here it's going to cause certain harm to all the people I've mentioned," Mr Burnham said.

"I don't believe we can consign our residents to hardship in that waRead More – Source