Boris Johnson backed down from imposing Tier 3 Covid rules on Manchester because he ‘feared police won’t enforce them effectively’ without Andy Burnham’s backing
- Greater Manchester Police currently answers to Labour mayor Andy Burnham
- Negotiation between Government and city’s leaders will continue over weekend
- It comes after the PM hailed agreement with Lancashire to move to toughest tier
Boris Johnson backed down from imposing Tier 3 Covid restrictions in Manchester amid fears police would not enforce them without Andy Burnham’s backing.
The Prime Minister had previously said that he wanted ‘maximum local enforcement’ but that could only be achieved with ‘maximum local buy-in’.
But Greater Manchester Police currently answers to the city’s Labour mayor who has adamantly refused to enter into the harshest restrictions.
Police and crime commissioners, a role currently filled in Manchester by Mr Burnham, have the power to help set strategic priorities for their local constabularies.
It is thought that negotiations between the Government and Manchester’s leaders will continue over the weekend with no decision likely to be made before Monday.
It comes after Mr Johnson hailed an agreement with Lancashire to move into the toughest lockdown level where it joins Liverpool as the only areas in the top bracket.
Boris Johnson has backed down from imposing Tier 3 Covid restrictions in Manchester amid fears police would not enforce them without Andy Burnham’s backing. Pictured: Revellers in Manchester on Friday
It comes after Mr Johnson hailed an agreement with Lancashire to move into the toughest lockdown level where it joins Liverpool as the only areas in the top bracket. Pictured: People leaving bars and clubs at 10pm in Lancashire after new lockdown restrictions imposed
Home Secretary Priti Patel phoned Ian Hopkins, the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, ‘to make sure they have all the support they need from national politicians but also, more importantly’ from ‘local politicians,’ according to The Telegraph.
The Home Office source also told the publication: ‘The police are not politicised. They have operational independence and it is the police’s job to enforce the law.’
Mr Johnson yesterday sent a stark message as he demanded that leaders in Greater Manchester focussed on ‘saving lives’ and said that he would step in if the two sides could not agree.
He said: ‘This is about saving lives. This is about us joining together locally and nationally to get the R down, to make these regional restrictions, this tiering system, work and to save lives.
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‘Everybody in Greater Manchester and all the areas that are still finding it difficult should think about it.’
He added: ‘I’d much rather not impose things, I’d much rather that we were able to work out something together with local authorities, with the mayor in Manchester.’
Mr Burnham has said the ‘very least’ he would accept was a full reinstatement of the furlough scheme in the region paying 80 per cent of the wages of people unable to work because of the lockdown.
But this is something which the Treasury has ruled out.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson hailed an agreement with Lancashire to move into the toughest lockdown level where it joins Liverpool as the only areas in the top bracket.
It means all bars and pubs that do not serve meals must shut – as well as a ban on household mixing indoors and in gardens.
However, there was anger in Liverpool that it has been made to close down gyms and leisure centres, while they can stay open in Lancashire.
It comes after the UK yesterday recorded 15,650 new coronavirus cases alongside 136 deaths.
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