12 October 2020

MPs complain of being missed off local lockdown briefings

12 October 2020

MPs in the north of England have criticised the Government’s briefings on upcoming coronavirus restrictions as a “shambles” after some said they were invited to calls for the wrong region or even left off the list entirely.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock was giving the regional calls to MPs on Monday ahead of Boris Johnson’s announcement of new three-tier lockdown measures to tackle the virus.

Charlotte Nichols, Labour MP for Warrington North, claimed she was originally invited to a briefing for leaders in the Merseyside region.

She tweeted: “Don’t know how many times we have to go through this: Warrington is not in Merseyside, it is not in the Liverpool City Region, it never has been and if you’re going to make decisions that affect us the very least you could do is recognise that fact.”

Her party colleagues Lisa Nandy and Barbara Keeley said they were unable to attend the meeting for Greater Manchester after they were left off the list entirely.

Ms Nandy said: “Just learnt Greater Manchester will be placed into tier 2 restrictions via twitter.

“Apparently there was a government briefing for GM MPs but I can’t provide details because I wasn’t invited.

“I suspect this is because they don’t know where Wigan is. What an absolute shambles.”

Ms Keeley added she had also been forced to pick up on the news about the new measures via social media.

“What a shambles this Government is,” she tweeted.

Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton Jim McMahon tweeted: “Finally, an invite from the Health Secretary comes, giving 21 minutes notice when many MPs are travelling down to London.

“I’ll dial in of course, but this is really poor even by current standards, like most things it appears an afterthought.”

His colleague Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley, responded: “You did better than us, I got my invite 5 minutes after the meeting had started.”

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