Now the extent to which the campaign, instigated last month by The Yorkshire Post alongside more than 30 other newspapers, political, business, civic and religious leaders to bring about a new era of regional investment, is having an impact at Westminster has been underlined by Jeremy Hunt’s acceptance of the need for the Northern Powerhouse agenda to be properly represented in the highest echelons of Government.
In an interview with this newspaper, Mr Hunt said that if he becomes the next Prime Minister, he is “absolutely committed” to having a cabinet minister with responsibility for overseeing the Northern Powerhouse. While there is a subtle but important difference between that approach and actually promoting the existing Northern Powerhouse minister to the Cabinet, it is nevertheless a step in the right direction towards ensuring this region’s full potential can finally be realised.
Mr Hunt’s comments will also hopefully have the effect of ensuring his fellow leadership candidate Boris Johnson sets out his vision for the North. While Mr Johnson told Tory members in Exeter last week of his intention to go through with existing plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail – a £39bn high-speed line from Hull to Liverpool – it is incumbent on him to explain to the 15 million people who live and work in the North his own policy ideas to serve the region and how it will be represented.
Although words can be cheap in a leadership contest, knowing each candidate’s template for action will give Conservative members and the country at large a better informed idea of their vision for the North.