CALLS have been made for Barrow to be made a royal borough to recognise its role in defending Britain.

Veteran journalist Michael Crick led calls for towns like Barrow to be given the title to provide a boost.

His comments garnered support among public figures in the area, including Barrow MP Simon Fell.

The former Channel 4 correspondent expanded on comments initially made on Twitter in an article for ConservativeHome,

He bemoaned the lack of towns further north than Sutton Coldfield in the midlands to be bestowed with royal recognition.

"Most of these are examples of the genteel, prosperous conservative England of tea-shops, old maids and Georgian buildings – not rough, grimy, working class communities which once housed the heavy industries which kept the empire going," he said.

"So let’s change all that.

"The Royal Borough of Barrow-in-Furness would be an excellent start.

"Its new royal handle could be given in recognition of the town’s important role in Britain’s defence over many decades.

"The Queen must have visited the Barrow shipyard during her reign to launch nuclear submarines and warships.

"In many cases – Barrow, Grimsby and Doncaster, perhaps – the towns might be boosted by the creation of new universities, especially if they concentrate on STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths. The role of higher education in generating business activity and giving a kick-start to local economies, has long been obvious, from Silicon Valley to the hi-tech communities around Cambridge and Oxford.

"In the interim, ministers should get on with the royal boroughs idea – though they should seek approval from the Palace first, of course.

"And I’m told that a fringe event event on Tuesday, the new Party co-chairman, Oliver Dowden, endorsed the idea."

He said towns receiving royal recognition would do so alongside 'genuine long-terms programmes to boost and reorientate the local economies with investment and special measures'.

Simon Fell added his support to the call on Twitter, saying: "I can get behind this."

And Cumbria's police and crime commissioner, Peter McCall, said: "Yes!"

Glyn Potts, the headteacher of Newman College in Oldham, said: "I’d love that. My home town of Barrow deserves it."