Manchester mayor unleashes fury at Johnson plan, while public approval for government strategy plummets

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Boris Johnson was hit by a growing revolt over his strategy for easing the Covid-19 lockdown last night as council leaders across the north of England joined unions in vowing to resist plans to reopen schools on 1 June.

Signs of disunity spread as a new opinion poll for the Observer showed approval ratings for the government over its handling of the crisis had plummeted since the prime minister dropped the “stay at home” message and eased restrictions a week ago.

In a further sign of discord, the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, writing in today’s Observer, says no one thought to tell the leaders of the biggest towns and cities outside London in advance of the prime minister’s decision to encourage people to go back to work last Monday.

“In Greater Manchester, we had no real notice of the measures. On the eve of a new working week, the PM was on TV ‘actively encouraging’ a return to work. Even though that would clearly put more cars on roads and people on trams, no one in government thought it important to tell the cities who’d have to cope with that.”

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