A group of regional titles across the North of England have today come together in an unprecedented call for more powers over their own affairs.
As Scotland voted no to independence, traditional rivals The Journal and the Northern Echo issued identical front pages setting out the case for a fairer deal for their region.
Today’s front pages – headlined ‘Now what is your vow for the North?’ – followed the Daily Record splash earlier this week in which the three Westminster party leaders issued a ‘vow’ of new powers for the Scottish Parliament.
Responding to the 55-45pc vote against independence this morning, Prime Minister reiterated his pledge of further devolution to Scotland and made clear that England would also see wide-ranging constitutional change.
But he said nothing about the possibility of new powers for the English regions.
In a joint statement, the newspapers said: “The United Kingdom is changing. And we have to make sure the North isn’t left behind. That’s why newspapers from the North East, North West and Yorkshire have taken the unprecedented step of joining forces to demand a fair deal for the region – including the power and funding needed to manage our own affairs.
“Our region faces the risk of being squeezed between an over mighty London in the south and a resurgent Scotland making the most of its new found freedoms to the north.
“But this is also a time of enormous opportunity for the North of England. Let us off the leash and we will create wealth and jobs, and help the UK succeed in today’s challenging world.
“Sensible devolution to regions such as ours, and perhaps ensuring we have a fair hearing at Westminster too, will also help to reassure English voters that they are getting a fair deal after so many promises were made to Scotland during the referendum campaign.
Journal Editor Brian Aitken said: “The unprecedented coming together of the great Northern newspaper brands should send a clear message to our politicians that it is vital they make sure the North does not suffer from having an economic powerhouse to the south and a far more competitive Scotland to the north.”
Peter Barron, editor of the Northern Echo, said: “The guarantee of additional powers for Scotland – irrespective of the referendum result – presents particular challenges for the north of England. The Northern Echo is happy to be joining forces with other major regional newspapers to call on party leaders to ensure the north of England is not overshadowed or neglected.”
“We are joining with newspaper titles across the north to ensure this vitally important part of England does not lose out in the aftermath of the Scotland decision.”