Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow health secretary, launched into a stinging attack on Boris Johnson’s treatment of Greater Manchester in the House of Commons – labelling the prime minister “petty, vindictive and callous”.
Greater Manchester will, at the end of this week, be put into a Tier 3 lockdown, after talks between Westminster and local leaders – including Andy Burnham – broke down without a funding package agreed.
Burnham, in an extraordinary political moment, was informed that the government would be offering Greater Manchester just £22 million of additional support to help businesses and workers cope with the latest lockdown – the equivalent of £8 per head.
“This is about so much more than Greater Manchester,” Ashworth said on Tuesday night.
“People will watch tonight and say if a government is prepared to inflict this level of harm on its people in one part of the country, then it will be prepared to do it to all parts of the country as well.
“The result will be a winter of hardship for millions of people. This isn’t a game. It’s about people’s lives. People need proper financial support. This is a national crisis and we won’t defeat this virus on the cheap.”
Watch his intervention here.