IT is good that both of the candidates vying for the Conservative leadership have taken the time to answer fully the questions put to them by our northern newspapers, including The Northern Echo, who warned them: “Don’t turn your backs on the north.”

Levelling Up, which was so crucial in causing the red wall to tumble in 2019, has not had many mentions in the campaign so far, but we know that everyone from the Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen to the leader of the Northern Research Groups of Tory MPs, Jake Berry, to many of our own MPs have been pressing them not to forget the northern regions which handed Boris Johnson his thumping majority.

We do know that Rishi Sunak knows his way around our corner of the north – as he’s moving the Treasury to Darlington, he has been working in the town.

So Liz Truss’s answers will perhaps get more scrutiny, with the stand-out one being her mention of creating a Barnett Formula-style mechanism of working out how poorer regions of the country get a fair share of levelling up cash.

The Barnett Formula itself distributes central money to the nations of the UK depending on deprivation, meaning that all of England gets less than, say, Scotland, even though parts of England, like the North East, have just as many issues as the Scots.

This would be great. We don’t want favours, just fairness. For instance, we need to address the decades of disparity on transport funding whereby London has soaked up all the budget to the detriment of other places.

But will the southern Tory shires stomach it if the new Prime Minister is really sending more money to the north?