Liverpool mayor needed 24-hour police protection when Tier 3 was announced, Covid-19 Inquiry hears

Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotheram at the Covid-19 Inquiry

The Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotheram has said the former Prime Minister broke an agreement to work together on announcing the Tier 3 restrictions.

Giving evidence at the Covid-19 Inquiry, Mr Rotheram said he had previously agreed with the former PM Boris Johnson that public co-operation was important and they should work together on announcing the move in Autumn 2020.

However, later the same day, Mr Johnson independently announced the restrictions and Mr Rotheram "had to try and pick up the pieces".

He said people were "confused and angry" about the Tier 3 restrictions, which included no mixing of households indoors or most outdoor places, apart from support bubbles.

Tier 3 also ruled a maximum of six in some outdoor public spaces (e.g. parks, public gardens) and the closure of hospitality, with the exception of sales by takeaway, drive-through or delivery.

Mr Rotheram said: “Twitter literally blew up. My team said there were thousands (of posts) and that resulted in all sorts of threats and unintended consequences.

“There were direct threats (to me) and that resulted in the chief constable having to post 24-hour security.”

The Metro Mayor said he was "not sure" Mr Johnson could have anticipated the consequences of breaking their agreement.

When challenged on lobbying the government for PPE, face coverings and financial support packages to enable individuals to self-isolate, Mr Rotheram said: "This was fundamental to why I believe that the R-rate had spiked.

"There were far too many people, certainly low-paid jobs in the Liverpool City Region where them people were faced with a 'sword of damocles' decision.

"If they felt like they might have had symptoms, they were choosing whether to stay at home and get no pounds, no pence, or to take the chance that they didn't have covid and go to work.

"I think that was a terrible decision to put anybody in."

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