'The North-South divide caused Brexit, now leaders must come to the North to win December's General Election'

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The leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, and Liberal Democrats have been challenged to come to the North to give a keynote speech and address the inequalities which exist between the region and the South.

In an open letter, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership threw down the gauntlet to Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, and Jo Swinson as it was claimed “the North-South divide was one of the primary causes of the Brexit vote”.

The letter said: “The alienation felt by working class communities facing the hard realities of decades of de-industrialist. Young people held back due to a lack of opportunities, in education and in getting on and into a high skilled job.

Henri Murison Director of Northern Powerhouse Partnership. Credit:  Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPI Media

Henri Murison Director of Northern Powerhouse Partnership. Credit: Jonathan Gawthorpe/JPI Media

“The North needs to be a place of hope, to turn back the tide of those left behind wherever they live, town or city, whatever their identity and whatever their background.”

The group said the election offered a “golden opportunity” to rebalance the economy and “truly demonstrate [a] commitment as northern voters’ decisions will be what the result will likely rest on”.

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As well as the economy, the letter touched on transport and education as key areas of policy, as well as devolution.

The letter said: “The prize for whichever party that wins the election is huge. This election cannot be and must not be purely about Brexit. It must also be about the transformational chance to rebalance the UK and create a country that works for everyone.”

The partnership also vowed to analyse each party’s manifesto and what it will mean for the North when they are published next week.