It’s time to speak up about the North, says Dr John Sentamu

Dr John Sentamu is the Archbishop of York.
Dr John Sentamu is the Archbishop of York.
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THE Archbishop of York has challenged political pundits to stop talking down the North.

Dr John Sentamu spoke out when questioned by the BBC’s Andrew Marr about the Church of England’s stance on the General Election.

“Let us not look at things in purely negative terms,” said the Archbishop when asked if the Government was doing enough for the North.

Noting that “there is still a big job to be done”, he said that Nissan’s car plant in the North East enjoyed the best rate of productivity in the whole country.

In a typically forthright interview, he also said he was “fed up” with those politicians who kept referring to “ordinary hardworking people” in a bid to broaden their electoral appeal.

“There is nobody who is ordinary. Everybody is extraordinary,” he added.

The exchanges came after Dr Sentamu and Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, raised concerns over poverty, housing and schooling in a pastoral eve of election letter to churchgoers.

The three-page missive called for “cohesion, courage and stability” to help heal the divisions caused by the political turbulence of recent years.

Education must be “for all” and the National Health Service must be allowed to flourish, they said.

Refugees and migrants should be given a “generous and hospitable” welcome but politicians should not be “deaf to the legitimate concerns” about the impact of immigration on communities. Christians have an “obligation” to participate in the election and to pray for those standing for office, it said.