The transport secretary has taken a thinly veiled swipe at the mayor of Greater Manchester over last month's Tier 3 standoff between local leaders and the government.

Grant Shapps spoke to Kay Burley on Sky News this morning, to discuss how the government will decide which areas will be placed into which tier after lockdown ends on Thursday.

He was asked by Ms Burley what would happen 'if there were objections from regional mayors' over which tier a region was placed under.

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Last month Andy Burnham and other local leaders spent two weeks negotiating with the government for better financial support to help businesses that would be forced to close, the self-employed and others who lose income, before Tier 3 was eventually imposed. 

Mr Shapps responded by saying 'individual negotiations' last time led to rates not being 'gotten on top of as quickly as possible'.

He said that Liverpool, which agreed to Tier 3 'quite quickly' had seen cases come down quickly and called the city 'a success story'.

He added that the government had seen that 'elsewhere' things hadn't been as successful and that regions that were slower to go into Tier 3 did not see cases reduce.

Ms Burley responded: "So just to be clear, it's Andy Burnham's fault?"

Mr Shapps stopped short of naming the regions he was alluding to and when pushed to clarify his point more than once by Ms Burley, he claimed he 'wasn't saying it was Andy Burnham's fault'.

He said: "What we are going to do this time is allocate these based on the scientific data across the country, so rather than getting into individual negotiations in individual areas, which I'm afraid rather delayed the start of some of the other tiering last time and I'm afraid that in itself is one of the reasons that it led to perhaps not getting on top of it as quickly as possible, instead we will have a regionalised but national approach where we can just look at the data and say on the basis of this data, that's why this particular area will go into Tier 1, 2 or 3."

Andy Burnham

Ms Burley said again: "So just to be clear, it's Andy Burnham's fault?"

He responded: "I'm not blaming anybody, but it's clear that in Liverpool where Tier 3 came in quite quickly we've seen the cases come down quickly, it's been a real success story.

"We have seen elsewhere where tiers didn't come in as quickly for various different reasons that actually it wasn't as successful and that is a fact I'm afraid and we don't want to be in that position again.

Ms Burley asked: "Which regions are you thinking of?"

He replied: "Well as I say, it's important to follow the data, we will have a look at what the latest data says, I think it's published tomorrow and then Thursday we will be able to put the entire country into one of three tiers".

Ms Burley again pressed on: "Yes, but you're not answering my question again, are you saying it was Andy Burnham's fault?"

He replied: "No I'm not saying it was Andy Burnham's fault but it is a fact. I don't want to personalise it like that, is what I'd say, but it is a fact that areas that were slower to go into, particularly Tier 3 levels have not seen, did not see cases reduce.

"Areas that went in earlier, Liverpool is the obvious example have seen cases fall and that's very important in terms of protecting the NHS and protecting lives, it's simply to state the obvious in many ways."

Ms Burley replied: "Some people might say that he was trying to stand up for his region, I'm sure he'll try and do that again."

Mr Shapps hit back: "I think the most important thing if you are standing up for your region is to save people's lives

To which Ms Burley responded: "Yeah, I think that's probably what he was trying to do."