THE YORKSHIRE Post made a very simple request to Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson on Wednesday after both backed calls for greater investment in this region – spell out how you would Power Up The North.
The Labour leader has met this challenge and readers can now decide for themselves whether his plan will maximise the North’s potential.
Yet, disappointingly, Mr Johnson – the frontrunner for the Tory leadership – has not committed to writing such a piece, even though he is a prolific writer and is paid £275,000 a year by a national newspaper to write a weekly column.
The excuse from his aides is that the former Foreign Secretary would be too busy to sign off the proposed text – an admission which suggests the man who is odds-on favourite to succeed Theresa May is unaware of the growing political pressure at Westminster after 33 newspapers launched the Power Up The North campaign on Monday. For, even though Mr Johnson’s priority is securing the support of Tory MPs and activists, the winner will be responsible for governing the whole country, and many here are still to be convinced that the ex-Mayor of London will take the North seriously.
And while Mr Johnson may think policies to narrow the North-South divide is a low priority, many senior MPs beg to differ judging by the names of those backbenchers now demanding a Commons debate on the Northern Powerhouse in the week that also saw Justine Greening, the influential former Education Secretary, reveal the extent to which the Treasury is thwarting progress on social mobility. Such interventions only strengthen the case for the Power Up The North campaign – a point that all politicians should heed. For, if they appear to break their promises, this newspaper will be the first to hold them to account on behalf of the 15 million people who live and work here.