The mayor of Middlesbrough has vowed to “defy the government” over the latest coronavirus lockdown restrictions in his town, accusing ministers of “monstrous ignorance”.
On Thursday health secretary Matt Hancock announced that people living in Liverpool, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough will be banned from mixing with those they do not live with “all settings” apart from outdoor public spaces.
The new restrictions will come into force on Saturday morning at one minute past midnight, Downing Street has said.
But the Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston said tighter lockdown measures “didn’t make any sense” and would “kill viable jobs and damage mental health”.
In a video message posted on Twitter: he said: “I have to tell you that I think this measure has been introduced based on factual inaccuracies and a monstrous and frightening lack of communication and ignorance.
“I don’t accept this statement at all. I don’t accept the measures. We need to talk to government. They need to understand our local knowledge, expertise and ability to get things done and preserve jobs and well-being.
“We’re really disappointed. As things stand, we defy the government and we do not accept these measures.
“We need to get Covid under control and we need to work with people to find a way of preserving jobs and mental health.”