NEW Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham says there were pluses and minuses in the Queen’s speech yesterday.

The former Leigh MP has been calling for Greater Manchester and the north of England as a whole to have a significant say in Brexit negotiations.

He said: “There were welcome steps in the Queen’s speech but it is far from a comprehensive programme that will deliver the opportunities and growth we need in Greater Manchester.

“The Government and Parliament is set to be dominated by Brexit but the voices of the nations and regions cannot be shut out.

“This could run the real risk of a London centric Brexit.

“I reiterate my call for the establishment of a committee of the nations and regions which must meet before the next round of EU negotiations in July.

“This can ensure Greater Manchester and the north have a strong voice in the crucial Brexit negotiations.

“I welcome the Government’s plans to approve the next phase of HS2 but progress on the further phase that reaches Manchester, combined with real action on Northern Powerhouse Rail to connect the north from east to west, cannot wait.

“Lack of infrastructure is holding back our economy and we have waited long enough for transport investment.

“While I welcome a review of the counter terrorism strategy, what we need is a wholesale review of emergency services funding in the light of the changing times we are living in.

“The tragic events of recent months have highlighted just how important our emergency services are to the safety of our people, and I believe the cuts have already gone too far.

“Our emergency services have been rightly praised by the Prime Minister and other government ministers, but they need more than praise. They need to be properly funded and supported.

“The Government must stop the cuts to frontline services and start to help build our emergency services back up.”