By Arj Singh
The Conservatives plan to open a new headquarters in the north or Midlands this year, HuffPost UK has learnt.
Crewe, Wakefield and Nottingham are among the potential locations being considered by a review at Conservative HQ (CCHQ) in Westminster, a party source said.
The new office will help the Tories’ swathes of new MPs who took former Labour “red wall” seats in December’s general election, but the party also plans to retain some staff in London.
HuffPost UK understands Tory staff received an email from the party’s director of campaigning Darren Mott on Monday in which he said it was his “aim” to open a CCHQ north or Midlands “this year”.
It is believed the party wants to have found a location in time for the Conservative party conference in October.
Less specific plans were first revealed by the ConservativeHome website in January, which quoted a Downing Street source who said the new venue should be “somewhere reasonably close to a university with good maths/physics departments (we should get a data team up there), good train links, well placed in political terms”.
Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings is known to be an enthusiast for data, maths and physics.
The source also said that “there will be a small office in London but maybe up by King’s Cross”, rather than the current base at Matthew Parker Street in Westminster. It’s not clear whether the new headquarters would be the party’s main office.
The prime minister would likely herald the move north as part of his agenda to boost opportunities for communities in the north and Midlands.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has already announced plans to move a fifth of the Treasury’s workforce to a new northern “economic campus”.
Downing Street has also floated the idea of moving the House of Lords to York as part of efforts to make politics and government less London-centric, although this appears less likely to become reality.
The Conservative Party declined to comment.