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Newspaper headlines: 'Chaos' of Manchester curbs and PM's 'tussles'

By BBC News
Staff

Published
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image captionSeveral papers quoted Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham accusing the government of "playing poker" with people's lives

The decision to put Greater Manchester into the highest level of local coronavirus restrictions dominates the front pages.

"Tier and Loathing" is Metro's headline, while the Manchester Evening News has a full page picture of a joker playing card with Boris Johnson's head superimposed on it alongside the headline - "Playing Poker With Our Lives". The Daily Mirror also borrows a similar quote from the region's mayor, Andy Burnham.

The Times lays the blame for the failure of negotiations to secure financial assistance for the region at Mr Burnham's feet, with unnamed government sources telling the paper his pride caused talks to fail.

The paper says the mayor refused to back down over calls for increased funding to help affected industries and workers, despite there only being £5m between his demands and the government's offer.

The online-only Independent points out that the Treasury will only be providing £8 of support for every resident of Greater Manchester under the current plan.

There's plenty of speculation that other cities across the north of England could follow Manchester in the coming days, with the Yorkshire Post warning there could be "northern uproar" if parts of the county are forced into tier three restrictions without agreement.

The i newspaper says Downing Street is already negotiating with local authorities in Yorkshire, the North East, and Nottinghamshire.

The Guardian highlights a deleted post from the Manchester Young Conservatives' Twitter account sent in the aftermath of the announcement, calling for the prime minister to resign.

The tweet accused Boris Johnson of being "incompetent", lying, having "no backbone", and putting the chances of retaining northern seats won in last year's general election at risk.

The Daily Express opts for a more encouraging tone, reflecting a business leader's plea for national unity to ride out the crisis while preserving the economy.

Damian Waters from the Confederation of British Industry tells the paper that the virus will only be defeated if people across the UK work together with a common purpose.

'Worst of all worlds'

The Daily Telegraph's sketch writer, Michael Deacon, suggests the government's handling of the talks came straight from its "Brexit playbook", with ministers claiming negotiations were over in an attempt to get the other side to make concessions.

The Guardian's leader goes further, accusing the prime minister of attempting to bully local leaders in the north of England, while the editorial in the Times claims the government had mishandled the issue and that Boris Johnson is "vulnerable to the charge that his strategy is the worst of all worlds".

The Financial Times reports that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has told the Mayor of London he will seize control of the capital's transport system unless Sadiq Khan agrees to implement a range of measures - including higher council tax, expanding the congestion zone and raising fares.

It's understood that Mr Khan rejected the demands, leaving London's financially troubled transport network with an uncertain future.

Paul Waugh compares the situation to the Manchester negotiations on the Huff Post UK website, saying it is "all beginning to sound like a pattern of behaviour, not a political slip-up."

The Daily Mail says the Metropolitan Police has sent letters to pubs and restaurants in London, encouraging them to check customers' identity documents to prove groups are from the same household.

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image captionPubs in London are being asked to check customer IDs to ensure they are not mixing households, the Daily Mail reports

The British Beer and Pub Association tells the paper the move is "completely unacceptable", while the Night Time Industries Association calls it "unlawful".

A Met spokesperson says the message is only intended to be "well-intentioned advice".

The Mail's Scottish edition focuses on the roll-out of a tiered system of restrictions similar to that already in place in England in less than two weeks time.

It says millions of people in Scotland will be subjected to tougher rules - and those already under local restrictions will see them extended.

A picture of Sir Geoffrey Boycott graces the front page of the Daily Telegraph, alongside an interview with the former England cricketer to mark his 80th birthday.

In it, Sir Geoffrey criticises what he views as a culture of political correctness at the BBC, following his departure from Test Match Special in the summer.

He accuses the corporation of sacrificing quality for equality, and notes that he was often "wary and frightened" to voice his opinions over fears he could be reprimanded.