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TORY THINK TANK CALL AN INSULT TO NEWCASTLE, SAYS BEADLE

August 14, 2008 1:27 PM

A leading Newcastle Liberal Democrat has described a call by a Conservative-leaning think tank for people from towns and cities of the North to pack their bags and move to the South as appalling.

Ron Beadle, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle North, condemned the comments by the Policy Exchange.

The London-based think tank, described as David Cameron's favourite think tank in the media, claimed many towns and cities in the north of England were failing and regeneration would not save them.

Policy Exchange, which was set up by senior Tory MP Michael Gove, suggested people should move to the South East instead.

"The idea that people should abandon the North and move to the already crowded South East, where house prices and living costs are sky high, is an insult to people living here," said Ron Beadle.

"I am staggered that a think tank so close to the Conservatives is making such a call. I am appalled that they are saying that large swathes of the North can simply be abandoned.

"What the Policy Exchange has done is to highlight the lack of understanding many Conservatives have of the North and to show that they are too weak here to be taken seriously."