Labour leader Keir Starmer will try to end Boris Johnson’s “punishing” local lockdown deals by forcing a Commons vote on the toughest Tier 3 restrictions.
Demanding a “fair one nation deal” for areas under the restrictions, Starmer will call on the government to standardise the level of support for businesses and workers.
The move could see some “red wall Tories” rebel and back the Labour motion, which will be tabled as part of an opposition-led debate on the pandemic.
It comes after a dramatic stand-off between Downing Street and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham ended when Johnson ended talks and imposed Tier 3 curbs without local leaders’ agreement.
The government has given the area £22m to support firms and workers, but said £60m remains “on the table”.
Burnham, who had sought £65m for the region’s town halls, accused the government of a “deliberate act of levelling down” and “playing poker” with the city after Johnson intervened and offered less cash support.
The former Labour health secretary was informed of the area’s restrictions live on TV, as Johnson made a public statement on the issue.
“This is no way to run the country in a national crisis,” Burnham told the cameras.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said the furlough scheme, which when the pandemic took hold in March was set at 80% of lost wages, would be cut to two-thirds.
It is expected further Tier 3 restrictions will be introduced in parts of Yorkshire and the North East in the coming days, where hospitalisations among older people are beginning to climb, as talks begin with other local leaders.
Speaking ahead of the vote, Starmer said: “The Conservatives have been treating local communities, particularly in the Midlands, North West and North East, and their leaders with contempt.
“This is not just a matter of fairness for people in Greater Manchester, but for people across the country who could find themselves in Tier 3 in the weeks ahead....