A letter sent to Boris Johnson signed by forty Northern MPs, including Mark Menzies whose constituency includes Lytham St.Anne’s, has demanded an explicit ‘road map’ to explain clearly the criteria of how we will exit Tier Three. The now published letter, also signed anonymously by a further fourteen Tory MPs, additionally demands a clear economic recovery plan for the North of England.
In their letter this Northern Research Group (NRG) of Conservative backbenchers warn that Coronavirus crisis is threatening his pledge to ‘level-up’ the country and could ‘send the North into reverse’.
NRG, led by former northern powerhouse minister and Lancashire MP Jake Berry, have take the step to publically urge the Prime Misiter to set out a ‘clear road-map’ out of lockdown restrictions. Mr Berry said: ‘The virus has exposed in sharp relief the deep structural and systemic disadvantage faced by our communities and it threatens to continue to increase the disparity between the North and South still further. Our constituents have been some of the hardest hit by this virus with many losing jobs, businesses, and livelihoods. Never has there been a more pertinent and urgent political and economic case to support people living in the North. However, instead of moving forwards on our shared ambitions, the cost of Covid-19 and the virus itself threatens to send the North into reverse.’
Chancellor Rishi Sunak attempted to placate the MPs this afternoon, saying he was a ‘northern Chancellor’. Mr Sunak, who represents Richmond in Yorkshire, told the BBC, ‘I absolutely share my colleagues’ frustration at restrictions – of course that’s frustrating if you’re having to live under these things and you want to know when it’s going to be over. But I also share their passion and ambition for the North. I want my constituents to make sure they have the same opportunities that everyone else does. The conversation can’t always just be about what’s going on in London, marvellous as London is.’