The Apprentice’s Claude Littner has come under fire after he told a Manchester-based restaurant owner to “suck it up” during a debate about the city’s Tier 3 lockdown restrictions on Good Morning Britain.
The millionaire businessman appeared on the ITV show on Wednesday alongside restaurateur Simon Wood to discuss the latest restrictions placed on Manchester.
The mayor savaged ministers for failing to provide the minimum sum of £65million needed to avoid a “winter of real hardship” under Tier 3 restrictions, which he said would plunge the poorest into poverty and homelessness.
During the discussion on GMB, Lord Sugar’s aide told Simon that while he “understood” the impact the tighter restrictions would have on businesses, he should “just suck it up”.
'People are going to be suffering no matter where they come from.'@claudelittner believes @AndyBurnhamGM should accept what is being offered by the government and work together during the pandemic.
He says it is important to focus on protecting lives and the NHS. pic.twitter.com/9SaPHfuTVw
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) October 21, 2020
“I understand that small businesses are beyond struggling and of course that has an impact for their employees,” Claude said.
“But I think we’re in a situation, an ever-changing dynamic situation, I think you’ve got to just suck it up.
“It’s horrible, it’s difficult, it’s impossible, but you’ve just got to do it and hopefully we’ll get through this very quickly and your businesses will still be intact.”
But Simon, who kickstarted his career on MasterChef, fired back: “Is that what I’m supposed to tell my team when I can’t pay them, suck it up?”
Claude replied: “I’m being realistic here. It’s a very difficult situation, you have to do the very best you can for yourself, for your staff, for your families.”
“Which is what we’ve been doing since March,” Simon hit back.
GMB host Kate Garraway then asked Claude what he meant by “suck it up”.
Claude replied: “Unfortunately, the virus doesn’t know we’ve been doing our best since March. Of course you have. So has everybody else. The virus is going bananas.”
Claude’s comments did not go down well on Twitter...
Interesting exchange #GMB between Claude Littner and Simon Wood
The first a millionaire telling people to ‘suck it up’
The second, a restaurateur fighting for his staff and hospitality industry who he knows can’t live off 66% wages
I’m with @SimonJWoodUK
— Jim McMahon MP (@JimfromOldham) October 21, 2020
Claude Littner on GMB telling an independent restaurant owner in Manchester to "suck it up"!! Almost as spectacularly vile as when a nurse complained that she had to use a food bank while living on NHS wages & he suggested she get a 2nd job for extra cash 🤯
— hannah miles (@hannahsunited) October 21, 2020
Argh my blood is already boiling at Claude Littner this morning - stock it to him @SimonJWoodUK the Manchester absolutely stands behind Andy Burnham
— Nyree Trimbel (@nyreehood) October 21, 2020
Claude Littner, Millionaire telling people of Manchester to "suck it up", Andy Burnham standing up for the poorest. Who to support? Its a tough one but on balance Ill go with the person fighting for whats right over than a millionaire fighting for his equals and their friends.
— Brexit Benefits Anyone? 🇪🇺🇬🇧🏳️🌈 🔰 (@SpecificWayLtd) October 21, 2020
Wow Claude Littner so out of touch on this morning's @GMB telling northern business owners they just need to "suck it up" - really? 🤦♀️
— ChronSallie (@ChronSallie) October 21, 2020
Next time Claude Littner enters any restaurant or pub, I hope the staff ask him to leave and "Suck it up"
— Martyn (@Pitch_Blend) October 21, 2020
Pompous multi-millionaire egg, Claude Littner, in complete lack-of-empathy non-shock.
Who'd a thought it, eh?
— John Bensalhia (@JohnBensalhia) October 21, 2020
The world is nuts when on GMB a certain Claude Littner worth over 30 million knocks Andy Burnham for fighting for people who may not have food on their tables.
— karen barclay (@kazgti) October 21, 2020
The government has been accused of “waging war” against Greater Manchester after the region’s mayor found out from the media that it had been put in Tier 3 lockdown.
Boris Johnson has imposed tough coronavirus restrictions on Greater Manchester after talks with the region ended in acrimony and chaotic scenes.
Andy Burnham was giving a press conference on Tuesday when he discovered the government had refused to meet his demand for £65m to support the livelihoods of people in the region as they face the closure of pubs, bars, bookmakers and other premises.
“It is brutal. This is no way to run the country in a national crisis,” the mayor said.
“Grinding people down. Try to get people to accept the least they can get away with.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.