DISTRICT MPs Philip Davies and Robbie Moore have explained their reasoning for co-signing a letter with almost 50 other Conservatives to the Prime Minister calling for a “clear roadmap” out of lockdown.

The Conservative MPs - for Shipley and Keighley and Ilkley, respectively - put their names to the letter from former Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry to Boris Johnson.

The group of MPs have called themselves the Northern Research Group, and in the letter said the pandemic is threatening his election pledge to “level up” the country as they called for a “clear road map” out of lockdown restrictions.

Mr Berry said: “The North has seen a level of disruption unparalleled with other parts of the country.

“The virus has exposed the deep structural and systematic disadvantage faced by our communities and it threatens to continue to increase between the North and South further.

“We share concerns the cost of Covid could be paid for with a downgrading of the levelling-up agenda, and northern constituencies like ours will be left behind.

“That is why we are calling for your support to create a pathway down the tiering system and to create a Northern Economic Recovery Plan to help our constituents build back better out of the Covid crisis. People want to see measures will come to an end and to feel reassured.

“Our constituents have been some of the worst affected by Covid, with many losing jobs and businesses.

“We urge you to reflect carefully on our promise to people living in the North and make our region central to the country’s economic recovery.”

Philip Davies said: “I’m very concerned about the impact of these restrictions and lockdowns on my constituency in particular, and the North in general.

“They have focused mainly on the North, and it seems to me you can’t pursue a levelling up agenda when you’re collapsing the economy with these lockdowns.

“I want them brought to an end to get our economy moving again. If we are moved into Tier 3, it would be terrible.”

Robbie Moore added: “I was elected on the pledge we would level up opportunities for this country, allowing northern constituencies like Keighley and Ilkley to benefit from the same opportunities as those elsewhere.

“The challenges associated with Covid has meant that a number of the systemic inequalities in UK society have been exposed. This has only served to remind us of the need to deliver on our commitment to the north.

“This letter to the Prime Minister was not, by any means, critical of the government but as a reminder of what we must do.

"I was more than happy to consign it because it is a call to reinforce the very foundations the levelling up agenda [sic] and I know my colleagues all share that view.

"What we are calling for is a clear explanation of his vision for the route out of this situation where the northern economy is being held back more so than the south.

"I hope this will be the start of a discussion on how we can do build back better as we emerge from this crisis and I will fight to ensure that when the conversation gets underway that Keighley and Ilkley are at the front of everyone’s minds down in Westminster.”

Barry White, chief executive of Transport for the North, was supportive of the MPs' comments.

He said: “A sustained pipeline of Northern infrastructure projects will help us build back better as we emerge from the damaging effects of this pandemic which have hit the North hard.

“In addition to our 30-year plan of how to level-up opportunities through better transport in the North, we have set out a shorter-term five-year Economic Recovery Plan with projects that create up to 20,000 jobs and underpin greener growth for our region.

“As outlined in the letter from the Northern Research Group, the delivery in full of key projects such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, along with a strategic focus on the vital transport corridors that link our communities, will be critical.

"It’s promising to see the North’s Conservative MPs throwing further weight behind the policies and investment recommendations of the North’s civic and business leaders.”

Business minister Nadim Zahawi said local restrictions are reviewed every four weeks, and to come out of tighter restrictions areas needed to bring the virus under control.

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker also signed the letter, but was unavailable for comment

Former Northern Ireland Secretary and MP for Skipton Julian Smith did not sign the letter, and neither did Pudsey MP and Deputy Chief Whip Stuart Andrew.