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Northern Powerhouse Minister tells Theresa May he doesn't want the job

Andrew Percy, the Minister responsible for the Northern Powerhouse, says Theresa May asked him to continue in the role but he refused


Andrew Percy MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse


The Government Minister responsible for the “Northern Powerhouse” policy has quit the job - even though Theresa May asked him to carry on.
Andrew Percy, the Minister overseeing the efforts to create jobs and economic growth in the north, issued a statement revealing that the Prime Minister asked him to stay in the role.
But he said he turned her down, and will go back to being a backbench MP.
He said: “I thank the Prime Minister for offering me this role again but I have decided to pursue other challenges.”
It means there is currently no Northern Powerhouse minister.




Mrs May is in the process of reshuffling her government and appointing ministers, following last week’s general election.
It’s not unusual at this stage for some roles to be unfilled, but it is unusual for an MP to turn down the Prime Minister’s offer of a position and then to tell the world what they’ve done.
Mr Percy revealed the decision on his Facebook page, saying: “Was a privilege to be asked to continue serving in my role in Government as a Minister, but I have reluctantly decided to step down and leave the Government.”
He said Theresa May “continues to enjoy my full support from the back benches.”
Me Percy continued: “I will not be making any further comment or doing any media on my decision.”


Prime Minister Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May 

Downing Street said a replacement would be announced “in due course”. It did not issue a response to Mr Percy’s statement.
The Northern Powerhouse was a Government project led by former Chancellor George Osborne to encourage economic growth in the North of the country by helping major cities in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and Humberside work closely together, such as by improving transport links.
Although Mr Osborne is gone from the Government, Mrs May vowed to continue the policy. The Conservative election manifesto included plans to build a new “Northern Powerhouse Rail ” line linking cities including Newcastle.
Mr Percy’s statement was greeted with fury by Newcastle East MP Nick Brown, who was Minister for the North East during the last Labour government.
He said: “What a disgrace.


Andrew Percy MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse
Andrew Percy MP, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse 

“They have just about given up on the Northern Powerhouse, even as an idea.
“It was always a slogan without any real substance. Now it seems they can’t even be bothered to give us that.”
Mr Brown, the Chief Whip in Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet, said: “If the Prime Minister wanted to offer me the role, on the basis that I would carry on as a Labour MP and Labour’s Chief Whip just as I am now, I would do it. Of course I don’t expect that to happen, but growing the economy in the North East is such a vital issue and there’s no reason it should be a partisan role.”
The Northern Powerhouse Minister is a minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government with specific responsibility for the Northern Powerhouse policy.
Before Mr Percy, the post was held by former Stockton South MP James Wharton. He lost his seat in last week’s general election.
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