The Power Up the North collaboration has been praised for putting the region at the very top of the new Government’s agenda.

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) said the collaboration between media organisations Newsquest – publishers of in-Cumbria – JPI Media and Reach had helped to make the North’s demands “non-negotiable”.

The election saw the Labour stronghold of Workington turn blue for the first time in three decades, as the Conservatives swept to victory in Barrow and Furness, Copeland, Carlisle and Penrith and the Border – all areas that had voted Leave in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

And other previously safe Labour seats were lost to the Tories in their droves across the North, which the NPP’s director, Henri Murison, claimed had now become the UK’s key “electoral battleground”.

“Both main parties stood in this election on a programme of closing the North–South divide, in large part in response to the Power Up the North campaign led by our regional newspapers,” said Mr Murison.

“As the electoral battleground for the future is now firmly here in the North of England – in the North East, from Cumbria down to Cheshire and right across the M62 belt of industrial towns into South Yorkshire and the banks of the Humber – the Northern Powerhouse is non-negotiable at any future General Election, with education, industrial policy and transport infrastructure the priorities.”

The NPP’s vice chair, Lord Jim O’Neill, said he now expected Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “follow through” his election pledges for the North given the key role voters had played in the Conservative’s decisive victory.

On becoming Prime Minister, Boris Johnson made several soothing overtures towards the North, pledging support for a nuclear renaissance, more investment in transport infrastructure and the devolution of decision making and funding powers to the region.

However, Lord O’Neill and others later criticised the Conservatives for lacking detail behind the pledges, particularly on devolution, in its election manifesto.

A clearly frustrated Lord O’Neill – himself a former Tory minister – recently proclaimed he would “stop wasting my time” if the election victor failed to reveal detailed plans on how devolution was going to be delivered across the whole of the North within a month of taking power.

Lord O’Neill and the NPP is currently working with business leaders and politicians on a devolution deal for Cumbria – having previously been involved in failed negotiations under the David Cameron Government.

Devolved powers for the county over decision making and funding, along with a clear plan for the Moorside site in West Cumbria following the collapse of NuGen’s plans for a £15 billion power station last year, are two of the key demands that have been made by Power Up the North.

The campaign, which was launched in June, called on all political parties, in particular the next Government, to back the Northern Powerhouse vision in full to “reverse decades of under-investment in key services”.

It called on Transport for the North to be given full policy and financial powers to “overhaul” the region’s road and rail network – and stressed the need for the full delivery of HS2 and the £39bn Northern Powerhouse Rail project to be made national priorities.

It has also called for a significant focus on investment in skills and supporting the North’s role in leading a green industrial revolution.

The campaign has been backed by organisations including Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and the Institute of Director’s branch in the county, along with high-profile businesspeople including Nigel Mills, chairman of the Lakes Distillery and owner of the Trout Hotel in Cockermouth.