LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused Jake Berry of being all talk and no action over his Northern Powerhouse ministerial brief on a visit to Darwen - in an exclusive one-on-one sit down with the LT's politics correspondent Bill Jacobs.

He used a rally of more than 200 party supporters at the town’s Library Theatre to promise major investment in the North-West and multi-billion pound ‘Crossrail for the North’.

Mr Corbyn promised his audience he would bring optimism and real change after a Labour General Election victory and the return of its candidate Alyson Barnes as MP for Rossendale and Darwen.

He also pledged an end of Conservative austerity, protection of the NHS, the scrapping of Universal Credit and investment in schools and mental health services, adding that a Labour election victory would be ‘the best Christmas present anybody can have’.

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph afterwards, Mr Corbyn turned to Mr Berry, who has held the seat since 2010, and his ministerial responsibility..

He said: “The Northern Powerhouse hasn’t actually happened. The investment hasn’t happened. The changes haven’t happened.

“All we’ve had was Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing the same things George Osborne announced five years ago about improving the rail service to Leeds from Manchester.

“We need to do a bit better than that.

“I am absolutely convinced we can do better than that because there has to be that investment otherwise we’re not going to get the industries, we’re not going to get the jobs unless we do something.

“Jake Berry and Boris Johnson, particularly in Jake Berry’s case, have had plenty of opportunity to do far more about it than they’ve done.”

Mr Corbyn denied Labour policy on Brexit was ‘sitting on the fence’ and said it was the only party appealing to those who voted to leave and to remain all of whom wanted to see investment in jobs and public service.

The Labour leader said he was confident the party could win key North-West marginals Rossendale and Darwen and Pendle from the Conservatives on December 12.

He also revealed he intends to visit the latter constituency, held by Foreign Office Minister Andrew Stephenson later in the campaign.

Mr Corbyn said: “I very confident we can win them.

“We have got off to a flying start in our campaign with very large numbers of party supporters and members going out campaigning and getting our message across.”

Mr Berry said: “Under the last Labour government the economy of the North shrank. The Northern Powerhouse has delivered nine years of growth.

“Jeremy Corbyn is desperate to distract Northern voters from the fact Labour will not deliver the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.”

Mr Corbyn praised Cllr Barnes saying: “Alyson is a councillor with great work done in the local authority, developed service in this area, and fully understands the community.”

He told his audience: “We have to invest in the future. That is what we are determined to do.”

He then sent them out to canvass telling them: “There’s something wonderful and therapeutic about knocking on doors in the rain. It’s fun.”