Government "creates uncertainty" through lack of communication: Andy Burnham

1 August 2020, 12:04 | Updated: 7 June 2023, 08:56

Andy Burnham on introduction of second lockdown in Greater Manchester

By Seán Hickey

The Mayor of Greater Manchester agreed that his constituency should have another lockdown, but said communication with the Government was lacking.

As Manchester and other sections of the North-West went into lockdown yesterday after a rise in coronavirus cases, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham joined David Lammy to discuss the decision.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester addressed poor communication from the Government on whether his area would go back into lockdown in the days prior. He suggested that their approach to this point has been all wrong.

"We've seen it time and again in this crisis, a Minister goes in front of the cameras, says something quite dramatic and then it's hours or even days before the detail emerges," Mr Burnham said, which "creates the uncertainty and the questions that people ask."

David asked Mr Burnham if he "found the government easy to work with during this crisis," to which the Mayor of Greater Manchester insisted that he hasn't had much contact with ministers.

He went on to say that Health Secretary Matt Hancock had contacted him a few days before lockdown was introduced to give him the relevant data. "At least we could see the picture on Wednesday," he said.

Although defending that the Government had been communicating with him in the days leading up to lockdown, Mr Burnham said that the communication "needs to improve."

The Mayor of Greater Manchester said that he agreed with the Government's decision to introduce lockdown
The Mayor of Greater Manchester said that he agreed with the Government's decision to introduce lockdown. Picture: PA

David played Mr Burnham a clip from Craig Whittaker MP's interview with Ian Payne where he said "It is the BAME communities that are not taking [the pandemic] seriously enough," as he was commenting on the rise of coronavirus cases in his constituency.

"I find it quite staggering to find a member of parliament make sweeping generalisations about their constituents," said the Mayor of Greater Manchester. He condemned the comments and told David that the entire general public have a duty to obey the rules and the lockdown in Manchester is testament to that.

"I don't think it's ever possible to put it down to one group of people," Mr Burnham said, adding that one of the worst hit areas of Manchester is quite an affluent area.

He added that "everyone's got to look at how they're living their lives," whether they are part of the BAME community or not, telling David that the rise in Covid-19 cases "was a trend we were seeing across all of our boroughs."

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