"I'm not sure people would accept Government-imposed lockdown": Rochdale council leader

16 October 2020, 11:33 | Updated: 16 October 2020, 11:37

By Fiona Jones

Rochdale council leader Allen Brett told LBC he was not sure people would accept a Government-imposed lockdown after northern leaders have been pushing back on Tier Three restrictions.

Greater Manchester will "stand firm" against Government plans to move the city into the toughest level of Covid restrictions, the mayor Andy Burnham has said.

Likening the north to being Westminster's "sacrificial lamb", Mr Burnham said local leaders were "unanimously opposed" to the introduction of "flawed and unfair" Tier Three rules.

Allen Brett is the leader of Rochdale Council and one of the local leaders who has rejected the Government's request to move the area in to Tier Three.

He told LBC he'd met Prime Minister's chief of staff Sir Edward Lister to ask which financial support measures would be provided if Rochdale were to accept Tier Three restrictions and "they didn't have the answers", which Mr Brett branded "embarrassing."

"When we left this morning they were going to come back to us...I got an email late this evening to say sorry we haven't been back to you, but we haven't managed to get the information together," Mr Brett said.

Mr Brett listed the concerns he had raised including the scientific underpinning of the measures, which rate of pay people will get on Universal Credit and local access to test and trace.

He referred to it as the "simple administration."

Mr Brett shared that he had already had an evening meeting with the PM's advisor Sir Ed Lister and in the morning's meeting - which was billed as a discussion - "he started the meeting by saying...if you don't agree with us then we're going to implement it on you. Now that is not discussion or consultation in my book."

"This is all about how we govern, I'm increasingly being told by people that they don't see it working," he said, "the poll tax didn't fail because it was unfair, it was because people just weren't prepared to accept it, and I'm not sure if the Government imposed these lockdowns that [they] would accept it."