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West Norfolk MP enters Greater Manchester coronavirus restrictions row

A West Norfolk MP has waded into the row over plans to impose tougher coronavirus restrictions on people living in Greater Manchester.

North West Norfolk MP James Wild is among 20 Conservative politicians to have signed a letter to the region’s Labour mayor, Andy Burnham, and the party’s leader, Sir Keir Starmer, urging them to work with the Government on the issue.

But one of their Tory colleagues who represents a seat in the region has described the intervention as “unhelpful.”

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Suffolk has risen to 360. (42726891)
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Suffolk has risen to 360. (42726891)

There has been a growing standoff in recent days over the prospect of Greater Manchester being placed in the highest Tier 3 level of coronavirus restrictions.

Political leaders in the region are currently resisting the move, claiming it is not being given sufficient economic support.

Meanwhile, Labour has called for a national “circuit breaker” lockdown to be imposed, amid reports its government in Wales could impose such a measure as early as this week.

James Wild (Con) NW Norfolk MP. Picture: Richard Townshend (32385521)
James Wild (Con) NW Norfolk MP. Picture: Richard Townshend (32385521)

But the letter to Sir Keir and Mr Burnham, which has been signed by Mr Wild and fellow Norfolk MPs Jerome Mayhew, Duncan Baker, George Freeman and Chloe Smith, argues that a national lockdown “does not make sense” because of current case levels.

It goes on: “It is very clear to us, and the people we represent, that the local and regional approach is the right response to the current situation.

“We would urge you to work with the Government to get the virus under control in Greater Manchester, so we can all avoid the pain of another national lockdown.”

But that goes against the government’s own scientific advice, which called for a circuit breaker lockdown to be introduced last month.

Two council leaders in Lancashire, which was also put into Tier 3 on Friday, accused the Government of bullying them into accepting the measure.

And James Daly, a Conservative MP in Greater Manchester, branded it a “deeply disappointing letter.”

He tweeted: “Unnecessary and Ill-advised as to the continuing efforts of all politicians, cross party, in GM to represent the best interests of our residents during this challenging period and beyond.”

The letter comes after members of the Lynn and District Trades Council signalled their opposition to the Government’s approach to the pandemic by announcing plans for a protest in Lynn yesterday , which was subsequently moved online .

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