Labour’s Andy Burnham: ‘Westminster has failed the north’

Labour’s Andy Burnham: ‘Westminster has failed the north’

Andy Burnham has called on the new Tory leader to attend the Convention of the North

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Mayor of Greater Manchester has accused Westminster of failing the north of England.

Andy Burnham told talkRADIO’s Eamonn Holmes: “This goes back to how the country has been run for centuries.

“My argument is that Westminster has failed the north of England.

“The country is inherently London-centric and that has to change.

“We have hit a point in British history where this country is more divided than ever before. It is very divided on geographical terms.”

Mr Burnham has written an open letter to the 10 Conservative leadership hopefuls calling on them to attend the Convention of the North if they win.

Writing in the Yorkshire Post, he said: “As part of the Conservative leadership debate, it is important that people have a sense of the level of your personal commitment to the North and your willingness to consider these issues.

“It is in that spirit that I am writing to find out whether, if you are elected as leader and Prime Minister, you will attend the second Convention of the North event, which will be hosted by Sheffield City-Region, to be held in late August/early September.”

Mr Burnham told Eamonn that the candidates “need to show their commitment to the north of England”.

“People here were promised a northern powerhouse but they are still waiting,” he said.

“Patience in the north is definitely running out. We are only hearing more of the same from these leadership candidates but I can honestly say that people here won’t have that. We need commitments to the north to close this divide.”

He added: “This is not a party political attack. I want to make that clear.

“The government I was part of did not do enough to close the north/south divide.”

The Mayor of Greater Manchester joined the Power Up The North campaign - launched by regional newspapers - calling for the government to change the way it treats areas in the north.

The campaign's demands include setting out a new programme for affordable housing and "accelerate investment in the north's digital infrastructure". 

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