Don’t make travel row personal, Andy Burnham tells Nicola Sturgeon
Andy Burnham has accused Nicola Sturgeon of making their dispute over the Scottish National Party’s travel ban “personal” in an effort to distract from the harm her policy is causing. The Mayor of Greater Manchester said he was merely doing his job when he criticised the Scottish First Minister’s policy, which means about one million of his constituents have been banned from Scotland. Ms Sturgeon initially dismissed Mr Burnham’s concerns by suggesting he was only trying to start a high-profile rnews.yahoo.com
Travel row escalates between Nicola Sturgeon and Andy Burnham after meeting
A rift between Andy Burnham and Nicola Sturgeon over the SNP’s travel ban escalated on Wednesday night, when a slanging match erupted after an acrimonious meeting. The pair spoke during a call convened by the UK Government, which the Greater Manchester Mayor said he hoped would help resolve the leaders’ row over restrictions on movement imposed by the SNP. However, after the talks broke up a source close to the Scottish First Minister accused Mr Burnham of making an “incoherent and absurd” contrnews.yahoo.com
George Galloway: Andy Burnham more electable than ‘catatonic’ Sir Keir Starmer
Andy Burnham should replace Sir Keir Starmer if Labour is to have any chance of becoming electable again, George Galloway has said. Mr Galloway, a former MP who was expelled from Labour and is now running against the party in the forthcoming Batley and Spen by-election, said Sir Keir is a "catatonic desiccated calculating machine" and Mr Burnham would be a better opposition leader. The latest research shows Mr Galloway has the support of just six per cent of the Batley and Spen constituency aheanews.yahoo.com
Nicola Sturgeon’s travel ban tramples my constituents’ civil liberties, says Andy Burnham
Andy Burnham has accused Nicola Sturgeon of trampling on his constituents’ civil liberties as he raised the prospect of mounting a legal challenge to force her to compensate people hit by her travel ban. In a rapidly escalating row between the two devolved leaders, the Mayor of Greater Manchester accused the Scottish First Minister of “insulting” people in the North West of England after she suggested he had only started a row over restrictions as part of a plan to become UK Labour leader. A bannews.yahoo.com
Diane Abbott: Batley and Spen loss would be ‘curtains’ for Sir Keir Starmer
Sir Keir Starmer should resign if Labour loses a forthcoming by-election in a key "Red Wall" seat, Diane Abbott said as she suggested Andy Burnham could replace him. The former shadow home secretary on Wednesday became the latest Jeremy Corbyn ally to suggest Sir Keir should quit if he failed to turn things around, warning that losing in Batley and Spen "must surely be curtains for him". Ms Abbott's intervention comes amid mounting pressure on Sir Keir in the wake of a bruising series of local election results and the by-election defeat in Hartlepool. The Labour leader's authority has been further called into question following a chaotic reshuffle, while Mr Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, has made it clear he will seek to run for leader if the party fails to win the next general election.news.yahoo.com
Sir Keir Starmer could face leadership threats from Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper
Sir Keir Starmer could face a threat to his leadership from two former frontbenchers after both Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper signalled they still have designs on Labour’s top job. Ms Cooper, who is the chairman of Parliament’s home affairs committee, did not rule out running in any future race while Mr Burnham, who is now the mayor of Greater Manchester, said he would fight for the leadership if he had the support of Labour colleagues. Both served as Cabinet ministers under Gordon Brown before running for the leadership in 2015 and losing to Jeremy Corbyn. On Sunday, Mr Burnham said he would run after the next election and suggested Labour would have lost fewer Northern seats at the 2019 election under his stewardship. "I still think life would have been different if I had won," he told the Observer. Mr Burnham romped to re-election in the Manchester mayoral race on May 6, taking all 215 wards in Greater Manchester. "I think we would be stronger in taking on the Government,” he added.news.yahoo.com
Army to be deployed in Indian variant hotspots under surge vaccination plan
The Army will be sent to hotspots worst-hit by the Indian variant of coronavirus under a "surge vaccination" plan to protect the vulnerable, the Prime Minister has announced. Boris Johnson has also declared that second doses of the coronavirus vaccine for the over-50s will be accelerated across the country. Speaking at a televised Downing Street press conference on Friday evening, he said that the gap between vaccines will be reduced to 8 weeks to provide additional protection to the most vulnerable as rapidly as possible. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is thought to have made the recommendation earlier on Friday to change its guidance, cutting by a third the length of time previously left between jabs, which was 12 weeks. Scientists have been forced to weigh up the benefit of getting those most at risk from the virus fully vaccinated sooner, with the higher level of effectiveness thought to be gained by delaying second doses by up to 12 weeks. New coronavirus cases involving the strain known as B1.617.2, which has helped fuel India’s devastating outbreak, have more than doubled in a week in England. London and the North West have seen the biggest rise in cases of the variant. A Government source told The Telegraph its growing spread was a "concern" and warned that scientists were still not certain about how transmissible the strain is, nor how effective vaccines are against it. Mr Johnson confirmed he will proceed with step three of his roadmap out of lockdown on Monday as planned, at which point six people or two households will be allowed to meet inside. Acknowledging the increased risk from this new variant, he said there was no evidence at present to suggest the vaccines will be less effective against it, but said the situation would continue to be monitored. The military, led by Colonel Russ Miller, will be deployed to Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen, the areas worst-hit by the new variant, to support local leaders in managing the response, Mr Johnson revealed. This will include a vaccination surge for second doses, and targeted new activity to accelerate vaccine uptake among eligible cohorts. Increased surge testing will also be rolled out. While the Government decided to change its advice on the gap between doses, it rejected other calls for the vaccine to be offered to all adults over 18 in Indian variant hotspots. Earlier in the day Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, explained the rationale against awarding jabs to younger age groups in the worst-hit areas. He told the BBC it takes three weeks to build protection from a first dose and to have any effect on transmission of the virus. His explanation raises concerns that the surge vaccination strategy may not take effect quickly enough to curb a major outbreak. In Bolton, which has a particularly high rate of the Indian variant, the leader of the council called for the jab to be offered to young people in the area. David Greenhalgh told BBC Radio 4's The World at One: "The vast majority of our cases are in their teens, 20s and 30s at the moment. "If we can get vaccinations to (those aged) 16-plus, which are licensed by Pfizer, then it will make a total transformation of transmission as it moves forward." He confirmed there had been talks between council leaders and the Government about surge vaccinations, describing the discussions as "very, very constructive". "This is an issue of capacity but… all the soundings are is that they are looking to progress that as soon as possible," he said. More vaccine doses have been sent to Bolton, while 800,000 PCR tests have been sent to 15 separate areas of England, including parts of London and Merseyside. London and the North West have seen the biggest rise in cases of the variant, with Public Health England (PHE) data showing it has been responsible for four deaths as of May 12. Blackburn with Darwen Council said on Thursday that it would be offering vaccines to all over-18s from next week following the increase in cases, but later said that although additional vaccine clinics are being set up, the jab will only be offered to those eligible under current Government guidance. It is understood the NHS asked the council to remove the tweet, as advice on vaccine prioritisation had not changed. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham also weighed in, calling for "extra vaccine supplies" to be extended to "the younger working-age population, the student population". He added: "That is what is needed if we are to make the most decisive and effective intervention into this situation that we can right now. "We recognise the pressure on vaccine supplies all over the country, but we have been moving at a pace where we have been treating all areas equally, and I think the time has now come to recognise areas with the highest case rate do need to be able to move more quickly down the ages." Bedford Borough Council has also called for vaccines to be made available for over-16s in the face of the variant. In the Formby area of Sefton, new drive-through and walk-through test centres were set up on Friday, specifically to identify the Indian variant. The latest case rate in Sefton was 53.9, up from 26 the previous week, with 149 new cases. Measures have also been brought in elsewhere, including in parts of London. Hounslow is the London borough with the highest rate at 48.2 per 100,000 people in the seven days to May 9, with 131 new cases.news.yahoo.com
As virus surges, isolated UK leader Johnson faces many foes
FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 23, 2020 file photo, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks from 10 Downing Street to a meeting with his ministers at the Foreign Office, in London. Less than a year after winning a landslide election victory, Johnson is facing multiple crises with few political friends. Johnson himself spent a week in hospital with the virus in April, some of it on oxygen in intensive care. “Our constituents have been some of the hardest hit by this virus, with many losing jobs, businesses, and livelihoods,” said group leader Jake Berry, demanding a road-map out of coronavirus restrictions and a jobs plan for the north. Even supportive lawmakers say Johnson’s government needs to show it cares about issues that matter to millions of people.
Another chunk of England faces tight virus restrictions
(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)LONDON – The British government on Wednesday put another 1.4 million people into England’s tightest coronavirus restrictions, but faced growing criticism that its piecemeal approach to curbing the outbreak is sowing division and confusion. Jarvis said local authorities had struck a deal with the British government on financial support to accompany the area measures. Instead, it has adopted a three-tier system for England, with areas classed as medium, high or very high virus risk. The measures have caused tension between Johnson’s Conservative government and local authorities in northern England, which has the country’s highest infection rates. Wednesday’s announcement about South Yorkshire means 7.3 million people, or 13% of England’s population, have been placed under the toughest restrictions — all of them in the north.
Leaders in US, Europe divided on response to surging virus
Virus cases are surging across Europe and many U.S. states, but responses by leaders are miles apart, with officials in Ireland, France and elsewhere imposing curfews and restricting gatherings even as some U.S. governors resist mask mandates or more aggressive measures. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, reiterated Tuesday that he has no plans to do so and would instead leave such decisions to local officials. Doug Burgum’s approach of leaving management of the virus to local officials. Mahoney, himself, cast the deciding vote against a city mask mandate early this month. Associated Press writers Adam Causey in Oklahoma City, Dave Kolpack in Fargo, North Dakota, and Jill Lawless and Sylvia Hui in London contributed to this story.
European nations mixed in their response to virus spikes
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks, during a coronavirus media briefing in Downing Street, London, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (Leon Neal/Pool Photo via AP)Countries across Europe are battling coronavirus infection spikes with new lockdowns, curfews, face mask orders and virus tracking smart phone apps. In a small indication of success, Spain's government said it won't extend a state of emergency in the Madrid region when it expires Saturday, but will look to more local measures. Britain's government on Tuesday said it will impose tough new measures on Greater Manchester, sparking anger from the region's mayor. An outcry in Portugal has forced authorities to back away from a plan to make a tracing app mandatory nationwide.
Tough virus rules imposed on Manchester after talks collapse
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham speaks to the media outside Bridgewater Hall, following last-ditch talks with the Prime Minister aimed at securing additional financial support for his consent on new coronavirus restrictions, in Manchester, England, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. But he stressed that not acting would put lives and the health care system in Manchester at risk. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has been fighting for more financial support for workers and businesses affected by the restrictions in his region of almost 3 million people. At a minute past midnight on Friday, Greater Manchester will join the Liverpool and Lancashire regions of northwest England which have been placed in Tier 3, the highest level. Instead it has adopted a three-tier system for England, with areas classed as medium, high or very high virus risk.
Wales locks down as COVID-19 cases spike; Manchester resists
Hospitality workers protest in Parliament Square in London, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. Hospitality workers are demonstrating outside Parliament against tougher coronavirus restrictions and the amount of financial support given by the government to the industry. Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford said Monday administration was backing a short, sharp “firebreak” to slow the spread of COVID-19. “We’ve got a great industry with lots of heart, and nobody works in the hospitality industry to get rich. We do it because we love what we’re doing — and there’s so many people who depend on it,” he said.
Virus curbs widen England's north-south rift, stir animosity
John Ambrose, a guide with the Beatles-themed Fab4 Taxi Tours, wears a face mask as he walks past a statue of the Beatles in Liverpool, England, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. Now, the coronavirus is putting Liverpool's hard-won revival in jeopardy, and raising tensions between the north of England and the wealthier south. Now, the coronavirus is putting the city’s hard-won revival in jeopardy, and raising tensions between the north of England and the wealthier south. However, Liverpudlians retained their mistrust of London politicians, and the virus pandemic has brought it to the surface. Authorities in northern England agree on the need to act.
London faces new restrictions as city sees higher virus risk
The government is negotiating with the leaders of Manchester, Lancashire and other communities in northern England about moving into the top risk tier, which would require the closure of many businesses. The opposition Labour Party’s spokesman on health issues, Jonathan Ashworth, described the measures as inadequate to stem the exponential growth of the virus. Hancock said discussions were continuing with Greater Manchester and Lancashire about moving those communities into the government’s highest risk tier. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham once again rejected government pressure to accept the higher risk rating without further financial support. “They are willing to sacrifice jobs and businesses here to try and save them elsewhere,″ a visibly furious Burnham said.
England's big northern cities brace for more lockdown curbs
“In some parts of the country, the number of cases are rising very fast and we are taking that very seriously." In many areas of northern England, it's not clear the local restrictions have worked — in some areas, the number of new infections is 10 times higher than when the localized virus restrictions were announced. Unions are demanding that the government accompanies any lockdown changes with a financial support package to prevent mass unemployment. A national program that has helped keep a lid on unemployment is due to halt at the end of October. ___Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
UK’s hospitality sector sounds alarm on jobs amid curfew
“We are doing that data again but we anticipate it will be far higher due to local restrictions, the national constraints on events, working from home and the curfew,” she said. The programme will be replaced by the less generous Jobs Support Scheme, which will see the government pay up to 22% of wages for workers who come back from Nov. 1. Many workers on furlough returned to their jobs when the sector reopened in early July after months of lockdown. But Nicholls said around 900,000 hospitality workers remain on furlough and urged the government to do more to ensure that most of them remain in their jobs through winter. That would push unemployment towards the 3 million mark, a level the U.K. has not seen since the early 1990s.