An elected mayor has vowed that his town will “defy” a local lockdown order, in an open show of defiance against Boris Johnson.
A ban on mixing with other households indoors in Middlesbrough, to come into force at midnight on Friday, is “based on ignorance”, a furious Andy Preston alleged.
“This measure has been introduced based on factual inaccuracies and a monstrous and frightening lack of communication, and ignorance,” the Independent mayor said, in a video message.
“I do not accept these measures. We need to talk to government, they need to understand our local knowledge, expertise and ability to get things done, and preserve jobs and well-being.”
Mr Preston added: “As things stand we defy the government. We need to get Covid under control and we need to work with people to find a way of preserving jobs and mental health.”
People in Middlesbrough are among more than 2 million in Teesside, Merseyside, Warrington facing the crackdown, agreed after a meeting chaired by the prime minister on Thursday.
It will be illegal for families to meet others they do not live with in all indoor settings, including pubs, bars and restaurants – as in other areas of the North-East.