Under leader Philip Proudfoot, the Northern Independence Party is currently attempting to gather support having launched a campaign just weeks ago. The party aims to “sweep in” on the UK’s 2024 general election having gathered sufficient backing so that any ruling party would “have to make a deal with us” in order to form a government.
The price for this, they say, would be a referendum on northern independence to create the new country of Northumbria.
It follows a high-profile spat between Boris Johnson and Manchester mayor Andy Burnham over lockdown rules and emergency funding for the Greater Manchester region last month.
Mr Proudfoot told ITV recently: “The north-south divide is not getting better; it’s getting worse.”
Now, the party has told Express.co.uk that it would want to avoid a hard border between the north and the rest of England.
However, it has also warned the Prime Minister to “take note” of what its leader has called “a real swell of support”.
Party officials said: “We’re gaining supporters at an incredible rate, and we are serious about our intentions. NIP started just over two weeks ago, and we already have hundreds of party activists and massive media attention – something even established parties fail to achieve.
“We have no financial backing whatsoever. We’re just ordinary northerners who have banded together to fight for independence.
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As such, regions like Shropshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire or Lincolnshire would not be considered part of Northumbria.
Its northern border, meanwhile, would be England’s current border with Scotland.
The party said: “We also recognise the right of those aforementioned English counties, which lie directly to our South, to hold local referendums to join the State of Northumbria if they so desire. And we will respect the outcome of those referendums.”
One key question is how the economy will thrive in the absence of Whitehall-backed schemes such as the Northern Powerhouse initiative.
The NIP says it would focus on the development of ‘green’ technology and would “sustainably extract raw resources where possible”.
It added: “The difficulty with planning a Northern economy is that it has never been done before; current statistical data on the North is not a true reflection of our productivity.
“Most companies are headquartered in London despite the fact a vast array of their associated productive activities takes place elsewhere. This produces a skewed statistical understanding of an independent North’s real economic power.”
Meanwhile, Ex-Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry has urged the Prime Minister to provide more support to the north of England following what he called “a level of disruption unparalleled with other parts of the country” by COVID-19.