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Andy Burnham calls the people of Manchester to look out for each other as ‘tough times lie ahead’





Andy Burnham held an emotional press conference at 4pm today to offer an update on the latest for Greater Manchester.

It was confirmed earlier today by Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick via Twitter that the discussions today between Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and the government ‘concluded without an agreement’.

Burnham further confirmed this news via his press conference. ‘Well done Andy’ could be heard shouted from the audience as he took to the microphone and he was met with cheers from the crowd as he told the people of Manchester to look out for each other as ‘tough times lie ahead’.

Andy Burnham states that businesses have been struggling and are ‘on the brink of closure’. He added: “Let’s be clear who is most affected by a tier 3 lockdown, people working in pubs, driving taxis those often forgotten by those in power.”

He confirmed that he and local leaders had calculated how much support people would be needed if parts of the hospitality sector were set to close.

This began at £90m, before being reduced to £75m. He said they were even prepared to go to £65m in the negotiations to ‘prevent a real winter of hardship’. 

However, he said the government refused to accept this and that they walked away from negotiations at 2pm today.

He added: “Make no mistake this was not just about Manchester, all parts of the country might find themselves in Tier 3 throughout winter.” 

He said ‘even now I am willing to accept a deal’ but not on the terms the government has set. Adding: “How can we carry the public with us through the pandemic, without supporting them through that?”

Speaking directly to the people of GM: “We know this is going to be a difficult time for you but together with the leaders behind me and all of the leaders for Greater Manchester, we took this stand for you. We will carry on fighting for you.”

He added that ‘tough days lie ahead’ before saying ‘Please, everybody, observe the law at all times and follow the public health advice. And please look out for each other, as I know you will’.

When asked ‘what next?’ Burnham says he thinks they will impose tier 3, adding that the government need to fully support people if they close down their places of work. He said ‘the ‘whatever it takes’ attitude from earlier this year has gone. Now it is ‘you’ll get what we give you’.’

Burnham has added that it would be wrong and ‘an act of very poor faith’ for the government to now withdraw the £60m offer.

He added that it comes down to a small amount of money that would be easy for the government to find than Greater Manchester to find, ‘but they weren’t prepared to do this’.

The Mayor of Manchester has called for parliament to intervene, explaining that the government has not worked out what impact tier 3 will have – how many people will end up sleeping rough.   

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Around 20 people involved in mass brawl ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens

The violence spilled out into the street



Magnus D / Flickr

A large group of people were involved in a mass fight ‘with knives’ in Piccadilly Gardens last night.

Around 20 people were caught up in the large brawl on Monday evening, and according to reports some were armed with knives.

The fight took place outside Morrisons on the end of Oldham Street, and happened around 9:30pm.

Witnesses reported seeing some of the suspects carrying knives, although police didn’t recover any from the scene, and busses were forced to stop as the violence spread out onto the road.

Peter McDermott / Geograph

Someone who witnessed the fight said on Twitter: “Piccadilly gardens is the roughest place on earth… a lovely night out helping ruined by a group of young kids kicking each others faces in”.

Officers responded to the incident, but no arrests were made or serious injuries reported.

This incident was the third of serious violence in just a few days.

Saturday afternoon saw another incident outside Morrisons in Piccadilly Gardens, in which a man was slashed in the face.

And on Sunday a brawl involving two tables at Barca bar in Castlefield happened, with some involved arming themselves with weapons like bar furniture and a baseball bat.

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Leading scientists call for end of face masks and social distancing by June

Do you agree?



Leading scientists have written to the UK government calling for social distancing and face masks to be scrapped from June.

In total 22 scientists have signed the communication, saying that these measures should finish on June 22nd – the same date limits on social contact are set to be scrapped in England.

One of the scientists who has added their name to the letter is Dr Roland Salmon, the former director of the communicable disease centre in Wales.

Nickolay Romensky/Flickr

Dr Salmon told BBC Radio Wales: “I am not venting my frustration but I do think some dialogue is well overdue.

“I have always felt that there has been little credible evidence benefit for many of the measures that we take.”

According to him, the letter was written to encourage the government to focus on protecting vulnerable people rather than the masses as we move forward.

Dr Salmon said we need to deal with the ‘here and now’ when asked about the threat of variants, going on to add that the vaccine has shown it helps prevent severe disease and death.

He added: “We can’t stop living forever while we wait for things to happen”.

Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

Scientists who’ve signed the letter include Prof Robert Dingwall from Nottingham Trent University, who sits on the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG). 

There’s also Prof Anthony Brookes, a geneticist and health data scientist at the University of Leicester, and Prof Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University.

The letter reads: “We are being told simultaneously that we have successful vaccines and that major restrictions on everyday life must continue indefinitely. Both propositions cannot be true.

“We need to give more weight to the data on the actual success of the vaccines and less to theoretical risks of vaccine escape and/or surge in a largely vaccinated population.”

It continues: “Covid-19 no longer requires exceptional measures of control in everyday life, especially where there have been no evaluations and little credible evidence of benefit.

“Measures to reduce or discourage social interaction are extremely damaging to the mental health of citizens; to the education of children and young people; to people with disabilities; to new entrants to the workforce; and to the spontaneous personal connections from which innovation and enterprise emerge.”

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Boris Johnson is regarded as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters

It follows weeks of allegations against the PM



No10 / Flickr

According to a new poll Boris Johnson is seen as ‘untrustworthy’ by six out of 10 voters in Britain, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer seen as more trustworthy.

The poll from Ipsos MORI was shared by the Evening Standard, and comes after weeks of leaks and allegations about sleaze aimed at the prime minister.

The research found that Mr Johnson is trusted by just 35% of voters and deemed untrustworthy by 59%, while Sir Keir is seen as trustworthy by 42% and is untrusted by 41%.

No10 / Flickr

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos MORI, said: “On honesty Boris Johnson is clearly trumped by Keir Starmer, so this is an area of potential risk for him. 

“However, his own supporters still trust him, and the public overall have never seen it as one of his strongest attributes … and as previous leaders such as Tony Blair have shown, you don’t have to be ahead on trust to win elections. 

“The key question is whether and if these stories continue and start to change the public’s overall view on him as PM.”

No10 / Flickr

The poll was taken following weeks of reports about murky donations being used to refurbish the prime minister’s flat, as well as disclosures about covert lobbying.

However, it was undertaken before the most recent allegations that Mr Johnson said he’d rather see ‘bodies pile high’ than have another lockdown, so those reports won’t have been taken into consideration by those polled.

Despite all the recent controversy, the prime minister and government’s net satisfaction hasn’t changed much since March, with both Mr Johnson (44 satisfied/50 dissatisfied) and Sir Keir (36/46) having net negative ratings.

Ipsos MORI interviewed 1090 adults across the UK by telephone from April 16th to the 22nd – you can find full details here.

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