This will be seen as a test for Starmer, can he carry through on what Andy Burnham began?
The Labour Party has said it will tomorrow force a vote in the House of Commons demanding a “fair deal” for communities which face Tier 3 restrictions.
“The vote follows the Government’s failure to reach an agreement with Greater Manchester on the financial support available to people and businesses,” the party said in a statement.
Labour will urge MPs to back its motion demanding the Government guarantees people faced with hardship who are subject to the Job Support Scheme extension will receive at least 80 per cent of their previous incomes.
The move could see some “red wall Tories” rebel and back the Labour motion, which will be tabled as part of an opposition-led debate on the pandemic.
It comes after a dramatic stand-off between Downing Street and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham ended when Johnson ended talks and imposed Tier 3 curbs without local leaders’ agreement.
The government has given the area £22m to support firms and workers, but said £60m remains “on the table”.
Burnham, who had sought £65m for the region’s town halls, accused the government of a “deliberate act of levelling down” and “playing poker” with the city after Johnson intervened and offered less cash support.
The former Labour health secretary was informed of the area’s restrictions live on TV, as Johnson made a public statement on the issue.
“This is no way to run the country in a national crisis,” Burnham told the cameras.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said the furlough scheme, which when the pandemic took hold in March was set at 80% of lost wages, would be cut to two-thirds.
It is expected further Tier 3 restrictions will be introduced in parts of Yorkshire and the North East in the coming days, where hospitalisations among older people are beginning to climb, as talks begin with other local leaders.
Conservative MP William Wragg, who represents Hazel Grove and had backed Burnham, hit out over the Greater Manchester decision, saying he fears the “medicine is worse than the disease”.
He told the Commons: “I feel a deep sense of disappointment at this collective failure that we have seen today, and quite frankly my constituents in Hazel Grove deserve better.
“I shall resist the urge to lose my temper because these exchanges deserve a greater elevation of tone, but I say this – the definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over again in the hope it’ll turn good.
“We have had three months of interventions in Greater Manchester which have yielded very little results indeed.
“I cannot help but fear that the medicine is worse than the disease.”