Boris Johnson to give major speech in Yorkshire - but northern leaders want 'deeds not words'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will visit Rotherham on Friday. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will visit Rotherham on Friday. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire
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Boris Johnson has been challenged to demonstrate his commitment to the North and unlocking its potential "through deeds, not words" as he prepares to deliver a major speech in Yorkshire tomorrow.

The Prime Minister is due to speak in front of northern political and business leaders at the the Convention of the North with NP11 conference being held at the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Rotherham.

It is the second time in little more than a week that the PM - who hopes to win over Leave-voting supporters in a number of marginal Labour constituencies in an upcoming General Election - has visited the region.

Last week he launched a police recruitment drive in Wakefield during an event which saw him criticised for using trainee officers as a backdrop to a party political speech.

And in a later interview with The Yorkshire Post he said he was "mad keen" in principle on a One Yorkshire mayoral authority with powers and resources devolved from central government,

Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, told The Yorkshire Post: “The new PM and his Government must demonstrate commitment to the North and unlock our huge potential – and I want to see this through deeds, not words.

“Whatever happens with Brexit, the Government need to be working constructively with Northern leaders. We are the people who know our communities, our opportunities and our challenges best.

"We have achieved so much, we are equipped to lead and we can be trusted to get on with the job – but with increased powers and resources, we can achieve so much more. That won’t just benefit the North, but the whole country.

“I want to see more ambitious devolution settlements for our regions, and transformational levels of investment in our people and our places, to reduce the imbalance between the North and the more prosperous South-East.

"If we as leaders are given the resources, the powers and opportunity to get the job done, we will deliver.”

Organisers say the Convention of the North event in Rotherham - following on from last year's event in the North East - is set to be the biggest gathering of its kind that the country has ever seen.

Political and business leaders from across the North, alongside young people, trade unionists, faith and community leaders, will come together for the event.

Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Given the Prime Minister’s positive comments last week in support of One Yorkshire Devolution, we are looking forward to a firm commitment from him to get the necessary detailed work started so we can move to a devolved model of governance across Yorkshire as a matter of urgency “

“In addition, while we recognise the ongoing review into HS2, we need the Prime Minister to give a firm commitment to increase infrastructure spending in the north, including on transport and digital connectivity.

"We want to see words put into action on Northern Powerhouse Rail, with a commitment on funding arrangements and a timetable for delivery.

“While there has been much talk of the end of austerity we need him to commit to make that a reality, so that council funding is restored to 2010 levels for the next 4 years to ensure funding for vital front line services such as those for vulnerable children and adults.”