Put the Northern Powerhouse Minister back in the Cabinet – The Yorkshire Post says

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry has resigned after turning down a move to the Foreign Office because it would have meant more time away from his young family.
Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry has resigned after turning down a move to the Foreign Office because it would have meant more time away from his young family.
0
Have your say

THERE was one obvious omission when Boris Johnson’s new-look Cabinet convened in 10 Downing Street after Thursday’s reshuffle – the Northern Powerhouse Minister.

The first Tory leadership contender to back calls for the North to have its own voice at the top table of British politics, Mr Johnson has now ditched the role at the earliest opportunity.

Jake Berry, the then Northern Powerhouse Minister, travelled to Leeds last month with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Jake Berry, the then Northern Powerhouse Minister, travelled to Leeds last month with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

The original Power Up The North manifesto

And whilst this is no reflection on Jake Berry who grew in stature as Northern Powerhouse Minister, it does reflect badly on the judgment of the PM and his chief aide Dominic Cummings.

Here’s how Prime Minister Boris Johnson can win permanent support from the North – Tom Richmond

Even though Richmond MP Rishi Sunak became Chancellor, and in control of the nation’s finances if 10 Downing Street permits, the remaining changes appear to weaken the North’s influence and betray the Power Up The North campaign launched by 40 newspapers, including The Yorkshire Post.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and his then Cabinet colleague Jake Berry during their visit to The Yorkshire Post last month.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and his then Cabinet colleague Jake Berry during their visit to The Yorkshire Post last month.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry quits Government

The original objective – and Mr Johnson agreed to this – was for the North to have a full-time Cabinet-level minister, enjoying the same status as the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Secretaries, to represent the 15 million people who live and work here.

And as Mr Berry demonstrated on his joint visit to Yorkshire with Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, he was making a difference with his passion for the region.

The regret is that there were not monthly Northern Powerhouse questions in the Commons and a select committee to scrutinise officials – these would have given the role ‘senior’ status and made it harder for Mr Johnson to ditch on a whim.

And while Mr Shapps was also given the Northern Powerhouse brief last night in addition to his transport remit, with Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick – and his deputy Simon Clarke – driving forward devolution, their remits are national ones.

As such, this newspaper, for one, will be looking for early evidence that Mr Johnson is still fully committed to ‘levelling up’ the country and not taking ‘red wall’ voters for granted so soon after the election.