PM holds talks with Burnham as deadline passes on Manchester restrictions

Boris Johnson has spoken to Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham as the deadline for agreeing a deal on tougher coronavirus controls passed without an official announcement.

The Prime Minister is expected to set out the Government’s next steps at a Downing Street press conference later on Tuesday after talks continued beyond midday.

Mr Johnson’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: “The talks have been ongoing this morning. I am not in a position to confirm how that has been resolved.”

Greater Manchester council leaders have reportedly asked for around £75 million in additional support if Tier 3 restrictions are imposed.

The controls would mean a ban on households mixing, including in private gardens or outdoor hospitality settings, while pubs and bars will be forced to close unless they serve meals.

Ministers have offered £22 million to the region, equivalent to £8 per capita, with “additional support commensurate” with that offered in Lancashire and the Liverpool City Region.

But civic leaders are said to want the Government to go further to support the city’s economy and 2.8 million people.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick issued a statement on Monday night warning that the Government had no choice but to act because of the deteriorating situation in the region.

He said there were now “more Covid-19 patients in Greater Manchester hospitals than in the whole of the South West and South East combined”.

“Despite recognising the gravity of the situation, local leaders have been so far unwilling to take the action that is required to get this situation under control.

“I have written to local leaders this evening to make clear that if we cannot reach agreement by midday (on Tuesday) then I must advise the Prime Minister that, despite our best endeavours, we’ve been unable to reach agreement.”