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Merseyside pub pokes fun at Johnson, Cummings and Hancock with cheeky new sign

One local said the James Atherton’s new name displays the North’s ‘spirit and humour’.

A Merseyside pub has been cheekily renamed in an act of defiance towards the Government’s new lockdown restrictions in the area.

The James Atherton in New Brighton, the Wirral, has renamed itself “The Three Bellends” – with a sign featuring the faces of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his close adviser Dominic Cummings and Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The sign appears as pubs were forced to close in the Liverpool area on Wednesday as part of the Government’s new three-tier system of coronavirus restrictions for England.

The pub, which opened in April 2018, is owned by Rockpoint Leisure, a company which has invested in a number of regeneration projects in the town in recent years.

“(The new sign) is a reflection of what the community thinks about them and their decision making,” Rockpoint Leisure chief executive Daniel Davies told the PA news agency.

“A couple of days ago I was speaking to some of staff for the second time to say the place was closing.

“The inspiration was looking at their faces, they’ve got their hopes, their dreams, their fears…. and not being able to answer the questions of when it would be open again.”

Mr Davies said his company will try to top up his staff’s furlough pay to help them survive during the lockdown, but added they do not have an “unlimited budget”.

He added that he has doubts the closures of pubs will help to stall the spread of coronavirus and voiced concerns over the damage to locals’ mental health.

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“People are lonely, isolated… what they’re doing is just completely wrong,” he added.

“The North to Boris Johnson is Islington… he’s just demolishing not only the economy but whole communities.”

Mori Sert, who lives around the corner from the pub, told PA: “I think this response defines the North in a nutshell.

“No matter what hits us, we’ll never lose our spirit and humour.”

The 26-year-old said the pub’s new look has caused “a real buzz” in the area, with people flocking to it to take pictures of its new sign.

Ms Sert works in retail in the Liverpool ONE shopping complex and voiced concern over the damage the new lockdown measures could cause for local businesses.

“Since Monday there has already been a dramatic decrease in footfall in Liverpool city,” she said.

“We are all very worried for our local businesses, especially hospitality places that are now being forced to close.

“It’s a struggle and we are all worried about how our much-loved city is going to bounce back from this.

“We will keep fighting this chaos as best we can.”

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