Manchester lockdown: Michael Gove slams ‘posturing’ Andy Burnham as Tier 3 talks to reopen after crowds hit town again

MICHAEL Gove has today slammed “posturing” Andy Burnham as talks over moving Greater Manchester into Tier 3 restrictions drag on.

Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has so far resisted calls to move the region into the “very high” category which would see pubs and bars close.

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Revellers head out on the town as Manchester resists calls to be moved into Tier 3

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Revellers head out on the town as Manchester resists calls to be moved into Tier 3Credit: Rex Features

He will now speak with Prime Minister Boris Johnson this morning as the stalemate continues – as revellers in Manchester were pictured hitting the town last night.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr show today, Mr Burnahm said he wanted to avoid “punishing” restrictions that would come in under Tier 3 to stop the spread of coronavirus.

And he stood firm, adding: “We think what we’re doing here is right for Manchester but right for the rest of the country.”

But Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove accused the Greater Manchester Mayor of pirouetting so much he “should be wearing a tutu”.


It comes as…


He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “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.

“Instead of press conferences and posturing what we need is action to save people’s lives.”

Mr Burnham said today he was “ready to speak to ministers to try to resolve this situation.”

But the mayor – who has been hailed the ‘King in the North’ by Game of Thrones fans on Twitter – also hit out at Chancellor Rishi Sunak for making the “wrong judgments” and calling for a return to the generosity of the original furlough scheme that saw the Treasury pay 80% of workers wages.

A group of friends walk through Manchester

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A group of friends walk through ManchesterCredit: Rex Features
Friends sit on the streets of Manchester after partying over the weekend

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Friends sit on the streets of Manchester after partying over the weekendCredit: Splash News
Revellers were seen enjoying themselves and dancing and drinking in the streets

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Revellers were seen enjoying themselves and dancing and drinking in the streetsCredit: Splash News
Three women are seen after hitting the town

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Three women are seen after hitting the townCredit: Splash News
Andy Burnham has resisted calls to go into further lockdown

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Andy Burnham has resisted calls to go into further lockdownCredit: PA:Press Association
Michael Gove criticised Andy Burnham

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Michael Gove criticised Andy BurnhamCredit: AFP or licensors

Downing Street indicated a call had been scheduled for Sunday morning after a message was left with Mr Burnham.

They said: “No 10 reached out this morning to try and arrange a meeting with the Mayor of Manchester.

“We will continue to try and reach an agreement on these difficult, yet necessary, measures to protect the NHS and the people of Manchester.”

Cases per 100,000 people in Manchester have dropped this week, from 558.0 to 473.0.

Mr Johnson on Friday threatened to impose measures without local support as he warned that “time is of the essence” and that “tragically more people will die” with each day of delay.

The row rumbled on as new controls came into force on Saturday, including in Lancashire and London, meant 28 million people, more than half of England, are living under heightened restrictions.

What are the rules for people in tier three lockdowns?

So far, Brits living in Liverpool City Region and Lancashire are in the highest tier of the new lockdown plan.

  • No mixing of households indoors and outdoors, including in private gardens
  • Pubs and bars to close
  • Restaurants, and pubs that can operate as restaurants, allowed to stay open
  • No wedding receptions
  • Local politicians will decide if gyms, betting shops, casinos, hairdressers and beauty salons should close
  • Non-essential shops, schools and universities to remain open
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Travel outside area advised against
  • Avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if resident in a tier three area
  • People resident elsewhere should avoid staying overnight in a tier three area

Lancashire, including Blackpool, and Blackburn with Darwen – adult gaming industry, casinos, bingo halls, bookmakers and betting shops, and soft play areas must close while car boot sales are not permitted

Liverpool City Region – gyms, leisure centres, betting shops, casinos and adult gaming centres must close as well

Mr Johnson has been under increased pressure to accept a short national lockdown known as a “circuit-breaker” to get a grip on the resurgence of Covid-19.

The PM has so far refused to bow to pressure for a short national ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown but on Friday acknowledged he “can’t rule anything out” in taking national action.

And Labour frontbencher Rachel Reeves today admitted her party would back repeated circuit breaker national lockdowns, saying: “if that is what is needed then that is the approach that has to be taken.”

Lancashire joined the Liverpool region in entering Tier 3 on Saturday, meaning with pubs and bars closed unless they can serve meals and household mixing banned indoors and in gardens.

Tier 2 measures were also introduced in London, Essex, York, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, North East Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield.

They prohibit people mixing inside with those from other households, including in pubs and restaurants, renewing calls from businesses for greater financial support.

The British Chambers of Commerce told the Prime Minister that any new lockdown restrictions must come with “truly commensurate” financial support or risk “catastrophic economic consequences”.

In a letter to Mr Johnson on Saturday, they raised particular concern about the Tier 2 restrictions imposed on London and other areas on Saturday because they “dramatically” hamper businesses without extra support.

Andy Burnham was accused of 'pirouetting'

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Andy Burnham was accused of ‘pirouetting’ Credit: supplied by Pixel8000
Brits hit pubs in Manchester after leaders reject Tier 3 Covid-19 ranking

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