Boris Johnson urged to produce for voters for next election
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The Northern Research Group of Conservative MPs (NRG), many of whom won their seats for the first time in 2019 when voters in the so-called Red Wall abandoned Labour to back Boris Johnson, are gathering in Doncaster to make their pitch to Government. They will call on Mr Johnson to start delivering for their communities in order to see off Labour at the ballot box.
Successive polls have suggested voters in the north are ready to turn their backs on the Tories again after being left frustrated by the Prime Minister’s record in office.
The largest caucus of MPs within the Conservative Party will use a conference today to “engage with voters, local councillors and businesses” to “ensure the voice of the north is heard in Westminster”.
The renewed pressure on Mr Johnson comes as he seeks to recover his authority in the wake of the bruising confidence vote earlier this month.
He narrowly survived an attempt to be ousted as Conservative leader by 211 to 148, a smaller majority than Theresa May received when she faced a confidence vote of her own in 2018.
The Prime Minister is expected to deliver a speech to the NRG later today, pledging to do what is necessary to repay the trust of those who voted conservative for the first time in 2019.
But in a keynote speech of his own, MP Jake Berry, head of the caucus, will unveil three proposals the group is urging the Government to enact.
The NRG has on the whole been supportive of the Prime Minister, but they fear a failure to impose Conservative policies risks a devastating loss for the party at the next election.
Criticising the current tax burden, Mr Berry will say: “It’s time to stop talking about being the party of low tax, it’s time to be the Government of low tax.”
He will push for Mr Johnson to give regional areas more power over taxes and housing stamp duty, giving local areas the right to decide what is best for them rather than Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Calling for “the freedom to lower taxes”, Mr Berry will say: “There are almost as many people living in Greater Manchester as in Wales – yet Wales has power over tax, while Greater Manchester does not.
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“Giving areas the right to vary tax rates down, will help deliver a more competitive economy.
“The Treasury has opposed this in the past.”
Highlighting that spending in London, per head, is 15 percent higher than the UK Government average, the Rossendale and Darwen MP sill also push for a fairer funding settlement to level up the UK.
He will say: “You can’t deliver radical long-term missions without radical long-term funding.
“This is why we propose a levelling up formula, which will deliver what the Conservative Party promised for generations to come.”
In his final demand of Government, he will urge Mr Johnson to scrap the drive for more people to go to university first implemented by Sir Tony Blair and instead focus on getting 50 percent of young people into high-level apprenticeships.
“The sad truth is that Sir Tony’s policy has failed the young people of this country and left the UK at the bottom of the G7 when it comes to productivity,” he will say, attacking the last Labour Government.
A spokesperson for the NRG told Express.co.uk said: “The NRG conference will be a chance for all members to come together and shape the future of conservativism in the north.
“The NRG may be the biggest caucus, and it may be the reason Boris won a majority, but we are nothing without our members.
“Express readers understand more than most, the need to fight for a good, righteous cause, come and channel this energy into creating the future of conservativism in the north.”
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