Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham is to hold last-minute talks with No 10 this morning amid mounting expectation the region will be the next to face the toughest coronavirus controls.
Mr Burnham has been resisting pressure to follow the Liverpool City Region into the Tier 3 restrictions – which would see bars, gyms and betting shops forced to close – despite soaring infection rates.
However following a briefing with the deputy chief medical officer for England Dr Jenny Harries on Wednesday, he said he expected to have a further meeting with Boris Johnson’s team on Thursday.
The move came amid reports the Government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre had recommended most of the North West and North East of England, as well as parts of Yorkshire and the Midlands, should be moved into Tier 3.
With Greater Manchester and Lancashire looking set to be the first to be affected, Manchester MPs said they had been invited to a meeting on Thursday morning.
Lucy Powell, the Labour MP for Manchester Central said it had “all the hallmarks of a decision having been made”.
Mr Burnham reacted angrily to the reports, tweeting: “At no point during tonight’s briefing was this news communicated to us. Media told first once again. Our position has not changed.”