I’ve been very impressed by the progress that is being made by Campaign North – a campaign that was showcased during Conference this morning, by William Hague.

Here are some highlights of what Campaign North has achieved:

  • After six months of operations, twenty extra full-time professionals
    have been recruited, including regional press officers, research staff,
    fundraising officers and campaigning professionals.  That’s a doubling
    of staffing since the beginning of 2007.  A full-time CF organiser is
    about to be recruited.
  • Every pound raised in the north now stays in the north.  That has
    encouraged a doubling of fundraising since the start of the year.
  • Shadow Ministers have been appointed for Tyneside (Alan Duncan),
    Manchester (George Osborne), Liverpool (Chris Grayling), Hull (David
    Davis), Leeds/Bradford (Eric Pickles), Sheffield (Sayeeda Warsi) and
    Sunderland (Mark Hoburn).

During October Oliver Letwin will announce two policy groups that will report to him and Campaign North.  One will look at transport infrastructure and the other at manufacturing and engineering.  Paul Maynard, our candidate for Blackpool North, is now a full-time researcher for CN.

Although polls suggest that the ‘Cameron Effect’ is much weaker in the north, there are some signs of progress.  In May’s elections the party did particularly well in Blackpool, Chester and South Ribble, for example.  The Conservatives now control more councils in the North West and Yorkshire than Labour or the Lib Dems.  The party also fielded more candidates in May’s elections than either of the other two main parties.  The Campaign’s focus in over seven to ten years, however.  It will take that long to fully build the campaigning infrastructure, improve the field of candidates and develop a full range of policies that will meet the north’s challenges.  The Campaign couldn’t have a better chief executive than Michael Bates (William Hague’s Deputy on the Northern Board).

The Campaign now has its own website.

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