North of England needs its own minister and ‘different messaging’ like Wales says Tory MP
The North of England needs to be treated like Wales and given its own government minister and “different messaging”, a Conservative MP has said.
Jake Berry, head of the Northern Research Group of Tory MPs, said that voters in the North of England would be “kingmakers” at the next election and that Boris Johnson would not be Prime Minister without them.
But he said that there was no semi-autonomous Conservative party in the North of England with its own different message as there was in Wales and other devolved nations.
“The point is that it’s a similar challenge that we face in Scotland and Wales, because there is different messaging for the Conservative Party in Scotland and there’s different messaging for the Conservative Party in Wales,” he told the Times.
“And I suppose one of the things that we will talk about at this conference is how can an all-England Conservative Party appeal to voters in Surrey Heath and Darlington? Is there something about having the same philosophy but different messaging around it?”
‘Turned on its head’
Jake Berry, who is the MP for Rossendale and Darwen in Lancashire, however, added that a focus on the North of England could alienate voters in the South.
“There’s quite a lot of messaging about levelling up and delivery for the north, which plays really badly [in the south],” he said.
But he said that voters in the North of England had needs that London-based politicians did not understand.
“When I went in [to parliament] in 2010, we were effectively a southern party that had a few northern members of parliament,” he said.
“That has been turned on its head by the 2019 results and actually, we are now a party that has its feet firmly planted in both the north and the south of England.
“The fact that we now have a Conservative MP representing them doesn’t give some God-given right to continue forever to have a Conservative MP. Frankly, if we don’t win seats in the north then Boris Johnson is not going to be prime minister.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.