Andy Burnham said northern leaders would not accept being moved into the highest risk category without extra financial assistance for struggling businesses.
Northern leaders could bring legal action against the Government if areas are forced into tougher coronavirus restrictions without their consent.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said local leaders would not accept further restrictions without a financial bailout- and the Government would have to impose the shift to Tier 3.
Mr Burnham suggested joint legal action could be taken with other regions as tensions between the Northern mayors and Downing Street boiled over.
Greater Manchester is among a number of areas currently in Tier 2 – the ‘high’ risk category – who are resisting a move to Tier 3 – the ‘very high’ risk level.
Tier 3, where pubs and restaurants have to close, has only come into force in Merseyside so far.
Mr Burnham told a press conference: “We are law abiding people, we would respect the law of the land, but we would consider other routes, legal routes, where we could protect our many thousands of residents who are going to be left in severe hardship in the run up to Christmas.
“We would not just leave them in the lurch, we would try and support them and that would include any legal action we can take on their behalf.”