graham stringer

Salford MP Graham Stringer has expressed his concerns at the current handling of the pandemic and the ongoing post-Brexit trade negotiations.

Following yesterday’s review, Salford and Greater Manchester will remain in tier 3.

The Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton, said: “The Government’s response to COVID-19 has been a financial, economic and health disaster.

“We now have lower infection rates than London had when they were put into tier 2, that is just prejudice and arbitrary.

“They have taken unjustified decisions and the ‘tiering’ system is one of those unjustified decisions.”

Mr Stringer added: “While we are waiting for the vaccine to work, I would move to a local health protection system, well-funded and giving money to businesses and people, whether they have had to close or shut down.

“This tier system does not work; it is destroying the economy and particularly the northern economy.”

Mr Stringer also renewed his calls for Brexit, he said: “I am quite worried that any deal might come over the Christmas period and they might try and rush the legislation through the commons.

“I don’t trust this government; it is my job as member of parliament and other people’s jobs as MPs to scrutinise deals and new legislation.”

The negotiating teams have until Sunday to present the text of any deal to European Parliament leaders.

Mr Stringer added: “I would prefer a good deal but if in the end the EU doesn’t give us a deal, there’s not a lot we can do about it.

“With Covid-19 at the moment, predicting what will happen next week or the week after is very difficult.

“I think in the long term this country being able to determine its own laws, whether it is on environmental protection or employment law or regulation of different products and manufacturers in the country, we will do better having laws that relate to our particular situation.

“Rather than having laws that usually are crafted to the benefit of the German and French economies.”

Throughout the negotiation process, deadlines have been constantly set and extended, but this recent move by the European Parliament suggests that an agreement is likely to be reached this weekend – despite the much-talked about dispute over access to British fishing waters.

European fishing waters infographic – Copyright: Tanisha Cantrell

Mr Stringer said: “If there is no deal then we take control of waters around this country to a distance of 200 miles, and that will immediately benefit our fishing crews and is likely to lead to its expansion.

© Hans Hillewaert

“The advantage it gives us, is that we can protect the environment better… the common fisheries policy has been a disaster.

“Different fish stocks have been over-fished, as well as the discard rule, where if fisherman caught the wrong fish they couldn’t be landed and they had to throw them back in the sea.

“It was an ecological catastrophe.”

Unsurprisingly, the final hurdle in the post-Brexit trade talks is that of the fishing industry, with any proposed deal requiring the signatures of all EU countries.

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