The revolt over lockdown has given rise to a new political era of powerful local leadership

Editorial: Leaders in Scotland, Wales, Manchester and elsewhere are defying the prime minister in an unprecedented manner. With Brexit looming, the government is facing a chaotic winter

Saturday 17 October 2020 11:55
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Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has threatened legal action if tier 3 restrictions are imposed without agreement
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has threatened legal action if tier 3 restrictions are imposed without agreement

Never before has a middle-aged man in a cagoule ranting outside Manchester Central Library done so with such authority and with such impact as did Andy Burnham when he stood up for the north this week.  

With the unanimous support of his local government colleagues and the region’s MPs, including Conservatives, he brought a rare moral fervour to his cause. He nailed the government’s plan to make Greater Manchester into a kind of laboratory experiment for lockdown on the cheap, or the “regional approach” as the prime minister prefers to term it. Mr Burnham wants more economic support for people and businesses in Greater Manchester if they are going to be forcibly deprived of their livelihoods. It is what happened during the first lockdown in the spring, and it is logical and fair that the same should apply now, in Manchester, across Lancashire and in the Liverpool City Region too. At the moment, it feels rather too much as though Conservative ministers in London, not for the first time, regard the north as expendable.  

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