GREATER Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has blasted the Government for trying to impose the strictest lockdown restrictions on the region.
He has accused the Government of treating the north of England with "contempt" by bringing in unproven measures "carried out on the cheap". Here's what we know about the Greater Manchester mayor.
Who is Andy Burnham?
Andy Burnham, 50, was born in Liverpool to a telephone engineer dad and receptionist mum. He is a passionate supporter of Everton FC.
He has been a member of the Labour Party since the age of 14, after reportedly becoming “radicalised” by the miners' strike in the mid 1980s.
Burnham was elected MP for Leigh in 2001, a post he held until resigning to run for the position of mayor of Greater Manchester in May 2017.
He stood for the Labour leadership on two occasions in 2010 and 2015 but was defeated by Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn.
He strongly supports devolving power to regions across the country and has been a long term critic of the "Westminster Bubble".
The mayor has been praised for his campaign work on behalf of the Hillsborough families and for his work in tackling homelessness in Greater Manchester.
When did Andy Burnham become mayor of Manchester?
Burnham was elected as mayor of Greater Manchester on May 5 2017.
In his victory speech, he said: "[Politics] has been too London-centric for too long… Greater Manchester is going to take control. We are going to change politics and make it work better for people."
Just weeks later, Manchester was targeted by terrorists in an explosion which killed 22 people and injured 59 others.
At the time, Burnham announced that he would hold a vigil from victims, adding: "These were children, young people and their families that those responsible chose to terrorise and kill.
"It is hard to believe what has happened here in the last few hours, and to put into words the shock, anger, and hurt that we feel today.
"This was an evil act."
In his mayoral campaign, he pledged to donate 15 per cent of his salary to charities tackling homelessness.
He pledged that he would end homelessness in Manchester by 2020 but last year he admitted that he would fail to reach that target.
Who's his wife Marie-France van Heel and do they have children?
They married in 2000 after meeting at the University of Cambridge.
When the pair were at university, Mr Burnham's girlfriend – now wife – reportedly asked him for permission to appear on the hit TV show Blind Date.
Marie-France van Heel, known as Frankie, appeared on the programme in January 1992.
The pair have a son and two daughters.
Where does he live?
Andy Burnham lives in Warrington, Cheshire.
What jobs has Andy Burnham had in his career so far?
Burnham's political career began back in 1998 when he became a special adviser to Chris Smith, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
Just three years later he was elected MP for Leigh. He would hold the seat until his resignation in 2017.
He had spells as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Home Secretary David Blunkett and Education Secretary Ruth Kelly.
After the 2005 election, the MP for Leigh was promoted to serve as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and, a year later, to Minister of State at the Department of Health.
In 2007, Burnham was appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury in Gordon Brown's first cabinet, and promoted to the position of Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in early 2008.
In June 2009 he was appointed Health Secretary, and became Shadow Health Secretary following Labour’s election defeat in 2010.
Under Labour leader Ed Miliband, Burnham served as Shadow Secretary of State for Education and, under Jeremy Corbyn, as Shadow Home Secretary.
What has Andy Burnham said about a Tier Three lockdown in Manchester?
The Greater Manchester mayor has refused to support tougher lockdown measures for the region unless 80 per cent of wages are paid for businesses that are forced to close.
The mayor warned that Prime Minister Boris Johnson could kill off hundreds of thousands of jobs unless the Treasury coughs up more furlough money.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has, so far, vowed to pay two thirds of wages of businesses that are forced to shut under Tier 3 lockdown measures.
The 50-year-old said: “They are asking us to gamble our residents’ jobs, homes and businesses and a large chunk of our economy on a strategy that their own experts tell them might not work. We would never sign up for that.
“Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire are being set up as the canaries in the coalmine for an experimental regional lockdown strategy as an attempt to prevent the expense of what is truly needed.”
The Greater Manchester mayor has said that he would prefer a two week "circuit breaker" short-term lockdown as opposed to Tier 3 restrictions.
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