Apprentice star Claude Littner says Greater Manchester should just ‘suck it up’ – and Andy Burnham is ‘grandstanding’

A furious over Greater Manchester tier 3 restrictions broke out on Good Morning Britain as Apprentice star Claude Littner told Greater Manchester restaurauters to just ‘suck it up’.

And he also gave his assessment of how Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham was handling the situation, saying he was ‘grandstanding’.

The entrepreneur, famous for monitoring the teams on the BBC One show and having an abrasive interview technique, was speaking to Masterchef winner and Greater Manchester restaurant owner Simon Wood.

Yesterday, Manchester and the other nine boroughs that make up the Greater Manchester region were plunged into tier 3 of coronavirus restrictions after days of talks.

Negotiations had failed to reach an agreement between the government, Andy Burnham and council leaders, and the government handed the region just £22m of financial support, despite previously offering £60m in talks.



Claude Littner and Andy Burnham
Claude Littner and Andy Burnham

Mr Burnham said leaders had originally wanted £90 million to protect incomes for people forced out of work, and eventually reduced it to £65m, described as the “bare minimum to prevent a winter of real hardship”.

Boris Johnson only confirmed £22 million for the region in a press conference on Tuesday evening – though Health Secretary Matt Hancock later told the House of Commons that the £60m offer “remains on the table” and added: “Our door is open to further discussions with local leaders in the coming days about business support.”

Speaking to reporters before the PM’s press conference on Tuesday, Mr Burnham said: “I don’t think it is right to ask people to go into a lockdown, to accept further changes within their lives, without supporting them through all of that.

Claude and Simon had appeared on GMB to discuss the new Tier 3 restrictions placed on Manchester.

“We are in a perilous situation and the government are doing what they can,” Claude argued. “They should accept what the government are saying.”

Simon Wood, who owns the WOOD Restaurant Group and has a restaurant in Manchester city centre, hit back at Claude, saying they’ve done what was needed. “They’ve asked us to work safely, we’ve done everything the government has asked,” he said. “We are one of the few industries that are governed by health and safety and we are good at that.”



Apprentice star Claude Littner says Greater Manchester should just 'suck it up' - and Andy Burnham is 'grandstanding'

Later, Claude was asked to respond to Simon’s comments and he said: “I understand that small businesses are struggling, beyond struggling, and of course that impacts their employees.

“But we’re in a situation where it’s an ever-changing, dynamic situation and I think you’ve just got to suck it up. It’s horrible, it’s difficult, it’s impossible, you’ve just got to do it and hopefully we’re going to get through this very quickly. Your businesses will still be intact.”

Simon furiously retorted: “And is that what I’m supposed to tell my team when I can’t pay them? Suck it up?”

“You don’t have to say it in those terms, ok,” Claude replied as Simon looked stunned. “The point is that I’m being realistic here. It’s a difficult situation and you have to do the very best you can for yourself, for your staff, for your families.”

“It’s what we’ve been doing since March,” Simon replied with.

“Of course you have, of course you have,” Claude said. “And so has everyone else but the virus doesn’t know that. It’s just going bananas.”

Apprentice star Claude Littner says Greater Manchester should just 'suck it up' - and Andy Burnham is 'grandstanding'
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Earlier in the discussion, Claude Littner also hit out at Andy Burnham, saying he was ‘grandstanding’.

Kate Garraway put it to Claude that Andy Burnham was “fighting for those people like a CEO should fight for their company.”

“He has to fight for the best for those people are suffering in his area.”

Claude responded with: “Kate, this is not a competition. It is in effect the art of negotiation, and I think he’s grandstanding.

“It would have been much better and much healthier for the nation as a whole, which is what we’re all interested in, is getting out of this mess as skillfully as we possibly can and to just accept what’s going on, take it on the chin.

“People are going to be suffering no matter where they come from because it’s the pandemic that’s causing the problem.”

Good Morning Britain is on ITV from 6am weekdays.

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