In England, the strictest Covid restrictions will be imposed on nearly 3 million people across Greater Manchester if no deal is reached by midday on Tuesday, the government has said in a dramatic ultimatum, write the Guardian’s Josh Halliday and Helen Pidd.
The communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, warned northern leaders late on Monday night that if they fail to agree to pub closures and a ban on household mixing, the tier 3 measures will be brought in unilaterally.
He said he would have to “advise the prime minister that despite our best endeavours we’ve been unable to reach agreement.”
The statement, which came only hours after a government meeting with Greater Manchester leaders ended in chaos and confusion, makes it highly likely that tier 3 restrictions will be imposed on the region within 48 hours.
The high-stakes ultimatum was met with fury in Greater Manchester, where the Labour MP Andrew Gwynne accused the government of being “completely contemptuous” of the region, and council leaders said ministers had offered no compromise as they sought to close pubs, bars and other venues.
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