A SENIOR East Lancashire clergyman has sent an open letter to returning Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the wake of his landslide general election victory.

The Bishop of Burnley Philip North called on the PM to invest in the North and empower local authorities to bounce back from "savage cuts".

Rt Rev North Tweeted: "Congratulations on the election victory. Your majority makes you the most powerful PM for years and you must now be reflecting on how to use that power.

"Christians are soon keeping Christmas, celebrating how in Jesus, God humbled himself to take our human form and thereby set us free. God willingly gave away his power in order to empower us.

"That strikes me as a very good principle for government. Might I invite you to ask not, ‘How can I use all this power? But, ‘How can I give power away in order to empower others’?

"Take local government, once a great source of pride in the north, still capable of huge enterprise and imagination, yet stripped bare and hollowed out by years of austerity and savage cuts. Let’s re-empower local government, invest in it properly, allow as many decisions as possible to be made at local level and re-engage local people in making the decisions that impact on their lives.

"Take local leadership. For years urban and estates communities have been stripped of leaders as places of association have declined and local entrepreneurship has been replaced by centralism. Why not work with churches, faith groups and the voluntary sector to raise up a new generation of strong, local leaders from unlikely places who can speak up for and lead change in urban areas?

"Take transport. Central control has been a disaster in The North where appalling public transport and crowded roads are strangling economic growth. Let’s invest as much in transport in The North as in The South and allow local people to make the decisions about where that investment is best made.

"The battered state of national politics shows we need to re-imagine the relationship between government and people. Give away power, empower others and the gifts of countless people can be unlocked."