Carlisle MP John Stevenson has called for 'Northern Powerhouse 2.0' in his keynote speech at the Northern Research Group (NRG) conference in Doncaster.

In a wide-ranging address, Mr Stevenson, speaking as chairman of the NRG, also called for the creation of the ‘Charles’ railway line which improve rail connectivity across the Pennines from Liverpool to Leeds.

The Northern Research Group is made up of Conservative MPs from across the North of England elected in former Labour stronghold areas.

Tories from across the north came to Doncaster for the one-day conference on Friday, June 9 to discuss policy ahead of the NRG’s northern manifesto launch and to try to influence the national party ahead next year’s general election.

In his address, Mr Stevenson called on the Conservative Party to ‘look to the future’ with maior infrastructure projects to revitalise the northern economy and for it to be “imaginative, exciting, practical, and conservative” in its policy making.

“Back in 2014, the Northern Powerhouse project filled what had been a vacuum in policy – it should have been around for many, many years,” said Mr Stevenson.

“Previous administrations of all political colours had for decades neglected the north with little done to improve and revitalize it.

“We have had the towns deal, the high street fund, the levelling up fund, devolution deals, growth deals, free ports, and other initiatives which are all very worthwhile in their own right.

"But we need once again to move on. We now need to look to the future.”

Other policy ideas suggested by Mr Stevenson included a ‘Minister for the North’ with a guaranteed £5 billion a year to spend on northern projects and a plan to build 500,000 homes across the north to ‘ease’ the pressure on the south of England and ‘enhance the economic prospects of the north’ in a ‘win for both regions.’

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The proposed ‘Charles’ line would link up major cities across the Pennines which Mr Steveson said would be similar in style to the new Elizabeth Line in London.

John Stevenson said: “We must build upon these ideas to come the autumn.

“We must present a coherent strategy giving a northern agenda to take forward with the national agenda.

“If Britain is to truly be a stronger country with a stronger economy, it'll only be achieved by making a stronger north.”