'Election will be won or lost in the North' as political rivals promise to promote region's interests

The major political parties have promised to promote the interests of the North ahead of the General Election after being challenged by the region's newspapers to turn rhetoric into action.

The Manifesto for the North, urging the next government to promote northern interests in five key areas including transport and trade, was issued by The Yorkshire Post and other titles yesterday.

The ambitious document – the first of its kind – puts the people of the North who have “wit and grit” at the centre of all proposals and pushes for power to be put in their hands to make the decisions which will impact them.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “When I became Prime Minister, I laid out our positive vision for the North and we’re already delivering on this.

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"Unemployment is falling, wages are rising, and we have signed multi-billion pound devolution deals across the North."

John McDonnell, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said: “I welcome the Northern Manifesto. In government, Labour will deliver a manifesto that will fundamentally redistribute the balance of power and wealth across the country and unleash the potential of the north.”

The Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening Post have joined forces to issue a Manifesto for the North.

Liberal Democrat Tim Farron said: “It’s time infrastructure in the North is no longer neglected as it has been by the Tories.

“The Liberal Democrats will not leave the North of England behind. Most importantly our party will safeguard and protect regional growth across the north of England from a disastrous Brexit. Our policy is unambiguous, we will stop Brexit and we will ensure that we have a stable economy in order to support regional growth.

“I’m proud to say that a vote for the Liberal Democrats means increasing the electrification of our rail network, committing to HS2 alongside new lines from East to West, opening smaller stations and improving current ones, as well as greater powers and funding to local authorities across the North of England."

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership representing civic and business leaders, said the election on December 12 "cannot be and must not be purely about Brexit".

He said: "It must also be about the transformational chance to rebalance the UK. I believe this election will be won or lost here in the North.”