MAJOR political figures have spoken out about the future of the North amid growing clamour for the region to have a stronger voice.

The Westmorland Gazette and a number of other newspapers published a ‘Manifesto for the North’, with policy objectives including local control of education and a northern transport budget.

And the region is set to be a major battleground in the coming weeks, with many touting it as the place where the election will be won and lost.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I’ve already announced that we will be backing Northern Powerhouse Rail, funding the Leeds to Manchester route, as well as increasing funding for schools across the region and investing in our NHS.

“Unemployment is falling, wages are rising, and we have signed multi-billion pound devolution deals across the North. But to really unleash the economic potential of the North, we have to get Brexit done.

“I have a plan to deliver Brexit, which will allow us to move on and focus on other priorities here, like investing in infrastructure, education and technology.”

Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for the North of England, said it was time the North was “no longer neglected” as he believed it had been under the current Government.

He added: “The Liberal Democrats will not leave the North of England behind. I’m proud to say that a vote for the Liberal Democrats means increasing the electrification of our rail network, committing to HS2 alongside new lines from east to west, opening smaller stations and improving current ones, as well as greater powers and funding to local authorities across the North of England.”

Labour’s John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, said: “I welcome the Northern Manifesto. In government, Labour will deliver a manifesto that will fundamentally redistribute the balance of power and wealth across the country, unleashing the potential of the North.”

In a speech in Liverpool, Mr McDonnell said a “shift in the balance of power and wealth in favour of working people” required an “irreversible shift in the centre of gravity in political decision making and investment” from London. He also pledged a ‘national transformation fund’ worth hundreds of billions of pounds, with a chunk going to each of England’s regions.