Bolton council leader ‘disgusted’ to be ‘misrepresented’ by Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs

Rebecca Speare-Cole
·2-min read
Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour party speaking during Prime Minister's Questions: AFP via Getty Images
Keir Starmer, leader of the opposition Labour party speaking during Prime Minister's Questions: AFP via Getty Images

Bolton Council's Tory leader has said he is “absolutely disgusted” that Sir Keir Starmer “misrepresented” him in the Commons by claiming he supported a circuit breaker to control coronavirus.

The Labour leader told MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons on Wednesday that David Greenhalgh supported the national measure above Tier 3 restrictions.

Sir Keir said that Boris Johnson "probably hasn’t noticed that this morning, the council leaders in Greater Manchester that he’s just quoted, including the mayor and including the Conservative leader of Bolton Council, have said in a press statement that they support a circuit-break above Tier 3 restrictions. Keep up Prime Minister.”

It comes after Sir Keir publicly backed a circuit breaker for October half term during a televised address to the nation on Tuesday.

But Mr Greenhalgh said it was “absolutely untrue” that he backed the proposal and demanded an apology from the opposition leader.

He was among the Greater Manchester area leaders to sign a statement on the new coronavirus three-tier system.

People walk past an electronic sign displaying health advice about Covid-19 in Bolton (file photo) (Getty Images)
People walk past an electronic sign displaying health advice about Covid-19 in Bolton (file photo) (Getty Images)

This included a line saying “a number of leaders” in the region supported a national circuit-break.

But Mr Greenhalgh stressed that he did not support such measures, saying: “I really don’t know if it is just poor briefing or mischief-making but either is pretty reprehensible and I want an immediate retraction and an apology.”

The Bolton Council leader said he wanted the apology to be made in the Commons or at least publicly.

“He has done it in one of the most public arenas that there can possibly be and he needs to now retract it and say that he misrepresented me,” the councillor said.

A spokesman for Sir Keir told journalists after PMQs: “The Conservative leader of Bolton Council signed that statement this morning which confirmed that ‘a number of leaders in Greater Manchester believe a national circuit-break, with the required financial support, would be a preferable option’.

“If that’s not his position, it is for him to say so.”

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