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Matt Hancock defends lockdown strategy after Bolton goes through four sets of rule changes in a fortnight

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Matt Hancock was challenged by Greater Manchester MPs.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has defended the government’s local lockdown strategy in Bolton after the town went through a string of rule changes in the last fortnight.

Residents in the borough were subject to four different sets of rules by the government over a period of two weeks, with plans to end the lockdown having to be abruptly changed.

In the Commons today, Mike Kane, MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East, said he wanted to challenge the Health secretary on his department’s ‘consistency of governance’.

He said: “The MEN are reporting that Bolton has been subject to four sets of rule changes in the past fortnight.”

Mr Kane added: “Last week my constituency, which straddles Trafford and Manchester, would have been split asunder if his department hadn’t U-turned”

“Restrictions in Greater Manchester are not working because infection rates have mushroomed. What is next, secretary of state?”

In response, Matt Hancock said: “I have been in contact with the mayor of Greater Manchester this morning on the question of what we do in Greater Manchester.

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“Of course the national measures which were announced yesterday will come into force in Greater Manchester, it’s very important that people follow them.

“We took further action in Bolton. The case rate in Bolton was coming down very well and thankfully before we implemented the rule change to remove some of the restrictions we were able to act and stop that relaxation from happening and in fact then had to tighten them up.”

Time Line Bolton coronavirus local rules timeline 30 July – Greater Manchester restrictions announced Matt Hancock posted a tweet at 9pm on 30 July saying that the whole of Greater Manchester – including Bolton – would be placed under local restrictions. The rules restricted people in Greater Manchester from mixing with other households in private homes or gardens. At the time the infection rate in Bolton was 17.74 weekly cases per 100,000 people. 28 August – Bolton restrictions to be lifted The government announced…

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