Government warns Manchester leaders: ‘We have the power to proceed’ with Tier 3 rules
Written by on 16 October 2020
Manchester could have a Tier 3 coronavirus lockdown imposed on it if negotiations fail, Dominic Raab has told Sky News.
The foreign secretary said ministers have “the power to proceed” with putting the city into England’s highest band of measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.
After a furious row blew up with Manchester politicians and Westminster following talks yesterday, Mr Raab said a deal “ought to be possible”.
“We’d much rather work with the local leaders if possible,” he told Kay Burley.
But the leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese said there were no more discussions scheduled with the government today.
As breakthrough seems imminent with Lancashire leaders about the county moving into Tier 2, Mr Raab sought to pile the pressure on Manchester politicians to also accept new restrictions.
“We will keep talking and we’ll keep working,” he said.
“Obviously in the last resort the government has the powers to proceed in any event.”
Mr Raab added the “right thing” for the country was to “avoid a second national lockdown” in the face of coronavirus cases rising a further 18,980 and deaths by 138 on Thursday.
“The way to do it is with a tiered approach that we’ve advocated,” he said.
“That will only work, the scientists tell us, if everyone really leans in and implements it to the maximum.”
But at least one politician was unimpressed with Mr Raab’s message on Friday.
Labour’s Jim McMahon, MP for Oldham, tweeted that “less posturing and more practical solutions to reduce the spread of the virus and prevent economic harm… might just work”.
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And John Edmunds, a scientist who sits on the government’s science advisory group known as SAGE, has called for ministers in England to follow the lead of Northern Ireland and impose a “circuit breaker”.
Mr Johnson laid out his plans for a three-tier system to suppress a coronavirus second spike on Monday.
In Tier 1, known as Medium, areas must follow the national restrictions – meaning people are only allowed social gatherings of up to six people inside or out, with a 10pm curfew for pubs bars and restaurants.
In Tier 2, people are banned from mixing with others they don’t live with inside, but the Rule of Six still applies outside. Pubs and restaurants can remain open.
And in Tier 3, you cannot meet anyone you don’t live with inside or out, pubs and bars must close unless they can operate as restaurants and no wedding receptions are allowed. People should avoid non-essential travel and staying overnight in another part of the UK, and local politicians will decide if gyms, betting shops, casinos, hairdressers and beauty salons should close.