EXCLUSIVE: Voters think Boris Johnson has betrayed the North, poll finds

41% of respondents think Boris Johnson’s government has betrayed the North of England, compared to 29% who think they have not.

Boris Johnson

A greater proportion of voters think Boris Johnson’s government has betrayed the North of England compared to those who don’t, exclusive polling for Left Foot Forward has found.

The polling, based on 2,232 people and carried out by Savanta:ComRes, found that 41% of respondents think Boris Johnson’s government has betrayed the North of England, compared to 29% who think they have not.

It comes after Boris Johnson was accused of betraying the North and Midlands last month after the government set out its scaled back plans for rail investment in the region.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed that the eastern leg of HS2 was being scrapped while the planned Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) was being curtailed. The prime minister has made the levelling up agenda a key pledge of his government’s priorities.

Keir Starmer also said that the prime minister had betrayed the North of England because he ‘had made two very important promises, HS2 all the way to Leeds, a new line, that promise has been ripped up.”

Starmer added at the time: “He also promised the Northern Powerhouse rail, a new line from Manchester to Leeds and that plan has been ripped up. This was the first test of levelling up and the government has completely failed and let down everybody in the North.”

50% of those aged 25 to 34 think that the government has betrayed the North of England, the highest of any age group, as do 39% of 18-24 year olds. 62% of those in the North West believe that the government has betrayed the North of England as do 58% of people from the North East and 63% of those from Yorkshire and the Humber.

When it comes to party affiliation, while only 29% of Conservative Party voters think the government has betrayed the North of England, the figure rises to 62% of Labour Party voters and 55% of Lib Dem voters. 65% of Green Party voters also feel that the same.

Of those who believe that the government has not betrayed the North of England, 44% of those living in the South East thought this was the case, the highest of any region.

Commenting on the poll findings, Labour MP Kim Johnson said: “I’m surprised that only 41% of voters think Boris Johnson and his Government have betrayed the north. 

“Northern councils have lost far more council funding than those in the south – 63% or £450m in Liverpool’s case, impacting heavily on service provision.  Promises of greater connectivity between our cities have been dashed by the Integrated Rail Plan.  This Government has shown blatant bias in favouring Tory seats – including those of seven Cabinet Ministers – in its allocation of levelling up funding, and now the flagship paper it promises had been deferred until next year. 

“The promise by Boris Johnson to narrow the gap of UK regional inequalities is, like so many other Tory manifesto promises, not worth the paper it is written on.”

The question asked was the following: Which of the following is closest to your view?

– The government has betrayed the North of England

The government has not betrayed the North of England

-Don’t know

Representative poll of 2232 GB adults. Prepared by Savanta: ComRes

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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