The Tories need to turn on the spending taps in the north now | Larry Elliott

A splurge of investment is needed in long-forgotten smaller towns such as Burnley and Stoke

Fifteen years ago the idea of the prime minister paying a weekend visit to Sedgefield would have attracted little or no media interest. That, though was when Tony Blair was in Downing Street and represented the County Durham seat as its MP.

When Boris Johnson turned up on Blair’s old patch on Saturday it was very big news indeed because Sedgefield is now coloured blue on the political map of Britain. In large parts of the country, from Blyth Valley to Bolsover, working-class communities have abandoned Labour and turned to the Conservatives. The Tories are the party of the working classes.

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