This comes after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn highlighted the initiative at Prime Minister’s Questions as part of a wider attack on industrial policy before Theresa May cited record levels of transport investment in her defence.
Yet, as Monday’s launch editorial pointed out, successive governments – Tory and Labour alike – have under-invested in the North and our intention is to challenge all parties, and aspiring PMs, to set out very specific commitments that the 15 million people who live and work here can judge them against.
As such, this newspaper today reaffirms the invitation sent to Mr Corbyn immediately after PMQs to submit a personal column setting out what he would do differently to narrow the North-South divide.
The same also applies to Boris Johnson after the launch of his campaign for the Tory leadership as he continues to avoid awkward questions. Even though Mr Johnson backed Northern Powerhouse Rail and a Metro system for Leeds, a leader genuinely committed to the North will be able to expand on their vision. Now is his chance.
However, as our campaign continues to receive national, and international attention, it spoke volumes that a backbench MP acknowledged Mrs May’s impending departure at PMQs before requesting: “Can she please take the Secretary of State for Transport with her?” The fact that she had the humility, for once, to admit that passengers in the North “deserve better” speaks volumes about the need for all parties to work together to Power Up The North rather than offering hollow platitudes.