Today’s Yorkshire Post reports that David Cameron believes that Tory fortunes in the north are still blighted by "difficult decisions that had to be taken… in the 1980s" – particularly with regard to the mining industry. Speaking to a lunch of regional political editors the Tory leader admitted that the party had still got a lot more to do to win back northern seats. "These things take time," he said.
He argued that his top shadow cabinet team is very northern-focused:
"I wake up every morning and have a meeting in my office with two Yorkshire MPs, one on the left, one on the right – David Davis and William Hague. So there’s a very good North-South balance in the Shadow Cabinet."
His shadow chancellor also represents a northern seat – Tatton, in the north west. None of these seats are urban, however. That is one of the reasons why the party leadership has appointed a whole series of ‘shadow ministers for the cities‘.
Twenty Conservative MPs are also embarking on a programme of ‘immersion’ in community projects serving inner city or other disadvantaged communities. Iain Duncan Smith is spending this week in Bradford with a project working with excluded children.