The Northern Powerhouse project has taken a double blow with the resignation of the minister in charge of the scheme and the chief executive of Transport for the North.
Andrew Percy MP, who retained his seat in the General Election, revealed he has turned down the prime minister’s offer of retaining his post as Northern Powerhouse minister and will return to the backbenches instead.
Announcing his decision on Instagram, Mr Percy said: ‘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.
‘I thank the prime minister for offering me this role again but I have decided to pursue other challenges.’
The news comes as Transport for the North chief executive David Brown announced he would leave the organisation in September, after less than two years in the post, to take up a new role as managing director of Arriva Rail North Ltd, which operates the Northern rail franchise.
John Cridland, TfN chair said: ‘David leaves Transport for the North with our thanks and best wishes for the future. He has been instrumental in developing TfN’s vision of a thriving North of England where modern transport connections drive economic growth and support an excellent quality of life. He leaves a strong organisation ready to become the UK’s first statutory body with a clear direction to drive economic growth in the North.’
Transport for the North will commence recruitment for a new Chief Executive shortly who will be a leading voice for the north, willing to stretch the boundaries of what is expected to maximise on the north’s unique strengths and deliver on the organisation’s vision.