Boris Johnson Covid-19 warning for North East: ‘Winter will not be easy’

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The North East of England has been warned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that ‘”this winter is not going to be easy” and it must be confronted with "fortitude and selflessness".

In a pre-recorded speech to this year's Great Northern Conference, Mr Johnson said he wanted to do more than simply get through the crisis as he spoke of the nation being "still up to our thighs, in the mud of the trenches, grappling with this virus".

Repeating his pledge to "level up and unleash the talent and potential of the North", he said the job of investing in skills, education and infrastructure was "now more urgent than ever".

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at the Great Northern Conference today.Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at the Great Northern Conference today.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at the Great Northern Conference today.

His speech to the conference, organised by our sister title The Yorkshire Post with the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, came after the Government sparked fury with northern leaders with its approach to negotiating the Tier 3 restrictions, which have so far been imposed on South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region and Manchester.

In his speech, Mr Johnson, who won an 80-seat majority in December's General Election on the back of gains made in northern England, said: "I have to be honest with you, this winter is not going to be easy. But I'm certain the people of Northern England will confront this crisis with the fortitude and selflessness we've seen throughout from the companies who rode to the rescue, to help to make those much needed masks and ventilators to the living angels of the North, who went further than anyone could have imagined to help each other out.”

He added: "Your determination not to be beaten, keep the show on the road, demonstrates the spirit with which we will defeat this resurgent virus.

"I know that many of you are putting up with restrictions, the like of which we haven't seen in our lifetime. And for those of you living under the higher alert levels in the North, you face hardships and sacrifices over and above everyone else.

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"So the first thing I want to say, is a huge thank you to everyone for your heroic efforts, and particularly to local leaders who are working with us to save lives and protect the NHS, while at the same time keeping our children in school and our economy running.”