How coronavirus ‘diktats’ from Downing Street tore Britain apart

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After six days of difficult and largely fruitless discussions with Downing Street, tempers were fraying among Greater Manchester council leaders and MPs on Thursday morning.

In a meeting at 9am between the region’s mayor, Andy Burnham, and local government chiefs, the leader of Rochdale Borough Council, Allen Brett told his colleagues he was so fed up with London that he wanted to make his feelings clear to Edward Lister, the prime minister’s close adviser, with whom the group was preparing to open yet another online discussion at 9.30am.

“I said I was angry, annoyed and frustrated,” Brett recalled. “I said I just felt like saying [to Lister], just stop messing us around. Tell us if you have the evidence for all this and that it will work – or not. Just tell us.” Brett…

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