Lord Mandelson: Labour's northern strategy 'was a huge political mistake'

The peer has attacked Labour for failing to counter Osborne's "Northern powerhouse" plan

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Labour party grandee Peter Mandelson has attacked the party over the failure of its northern strategy during the election.

The former business secretary, who was a key figure in both the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown governments, accused his party of using “language, not policies” when it came to their strategy to rebalancing the economy and political system away from London.

He said it had been a “huge political mistake” to not have an alternative to Chancellor George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse plan. The plan involved devolving more political powers to Manchester, including a directly elected mayor, a new transport strategy and an £11m investment in creating technology hubs in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield, according to the BBC.

Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Politics North West programme, Lord Mandelson said: "The Labour Party had positions or it had postures, or put it a different way, if I was going to be really cruel - it had language.

"It had language but I don't think it had the policies seriously to rebalance both the economy and the political system of this country.”

He said Osborne “got it” when it came decentralisation and “he got an idea, whatever his motive was, and he is running with it and we let him do so and that was a huge political mistake.”

Additional reporting by the Press Association