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Liverpool mayor vows to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with Andy Burnham amid lockdown rows
October 18, 2020
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Steve Rotheram hit out at Boris Johnson for using his name “inappropriately” in an attempt to tear him and Andy Burnham apart, he claimed. But he said he will stand “shoulder to shoulder” with the Manchester mayor as he fights to stop the city from Tier 3 restrictions. Mr Burnham has said a furlough scheme for affected workers must be in place before businesses are forced to shut.
Speaking to LBC, Mr Rotheram said: “If I have a pound for every time that I’ve had my name inappropriately used.
“What is actually happening is it’s an attempt to divide and conquer.
“By using me it looks like they’ve done something, why aren’t other people doing the same thing?
“I know what it’s about. It’s about seeing whether they can prize myself and Andy Burnham apart.
“But let me tell you, there’s no chance of that happening.
“Myself and Andy Burnham will stand shoulder to shoulder.
“What he is doing for Greater Manchester is the right thing for them.
“What we’re doing here is the right thing for the Liverpool City Region and the 1.6 million people that I represent.”
His comments come as Mr Burnham hit back at a “group of southern” Tory MPs who angered Conservative colleagues by calling for the Greater Manchester Mayor to “engage” with the Government’s lockdown measures to prevent further restrictions in their constituencies.
He said on Sunday that the “we’re alright Jack” letter from 20 Conservatives whose areas are currently under the lowest form of coronavirus restriction would not “cut much ice here”.
The Labour mayor and Tory politicians in the region are opposing Tier 3 restrictions for Greater Manchester without greater financial support from the Treasury for workers and business.
Mr Burnham has also joined Sir Keir Starmer in favouring a short national lockdown, arguing it would be fairer and would get his constituents’ greater support.
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But the 20 Conservatives wrote an open letter to Mr Burnham and the Labour leader urging them to get the virus “under control” in Manchester to avoid the “pain” of a national lockdown.
Tory MPs, including some in Greater Manchester, criticised the letter as “unhelpful”.
And Mr Burnham told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I’m not sure a sort of ‘we’re alright Jack’ letter from a group of southern Conservatives MPs is going to cut much ice here.
“I would say to them some of them represent constituencies whose cases were higher than ours when we went into national lockdown.
“Anywhere could end up in Tier 3 this winter. In fact, I would say places are likely to end up in Tier 3 this winter, therefore it’s everyone’s concern that we protect the lowest paid in our communities.”