Journalist Samira Ahmed to host Convention of the North with NP11 in Liverpool City Region

1st February 2022

Journalist Samira Ahmed to host Convention of the North with NP11 in Liverpool City Region

  • Samira Ahmed will host major gathering of Northern political and business leaders in the Liverpool City Region next week
  • Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the RT Hon Michael Gove to deliver keynote speech
  • Northern civic, business and community leaders including metro mayors, Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) chairs, CEOs and politicians will participate in action-focussed discussions to deliver concrete plans for the North and its post COVID recovery
  • With guest numbers limited, those unable to attend can livestream the event

Journalist and news presenter Samira Ahmed has been confirmed as lead host for the Convention of the North with NP11 taking place in the Liverpool City Region next Tuesday, 8 February.  

Samira is currently in her fourth decade as a leading journalist and reporter, having initially joined the BBC as a News Trainee in 1990. Previously at Channel 4 News she is known as presenter of BBC Newswatch and BBC 4’s Front Row, a programme about the arts, literature, film, media and music. She was named Broadcasting Press Guild Audio presenter of the year in 2020. Samira is a prolific and award-winning documentary maker and freelance writer and an advisory board member of the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford.

Speakers on the day will also include Northern Metro Mayors, prominent business figures and LEP and Council leaders. Notable speakers include: Madina Barker, Director and Founder of CNC Robotics; Dame Julie Kenny DBE DL, Interim Chair of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (DL); Carl Ennis, Chief Executive of Siemens plc & Siemens Smart Infrastructure, and former Northern Powerhouse Minister and Chair of the Northern Research Group of MPs, Jake Berry. A full list of speakers, plus the agenda for the day, will be made available to the press in the week before the Convention.

With more than two years passed since the last Convention of the North with NP11 took place, this event will focus on the ways in which the North can benefit the whole UK by leading the fourth industrial revolution and the nation’s transition to net zero, by unleashing its full potential to create green jobs and lead on key areas such as health innovation.

Speaking in anticipation of the event, Samira Ahmed, said:   

“There’s a huge amount of public interest in levelling up and what in practical terms that will mean for local communities. So I’m delighted to be chairing this conference to listen to those with the knowledge and see how that might happen.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City Region, said:

Convention of the North will be a unique opportunity for leaders from across the North to come together and articulate what we think ‘levelling up’ should look like.

“It has to be about more than just big spending announcements and shiny infrastructure projects. Levelling up must deliver meaningful and lasting change to tackle long-standing structural inequalities that exist between North and South. From healthcare and job prospects, to transport and infrastructure spending people’s lives can be radically different based on where they happen to be born. This is not an issue of party politics but one of fairness and social justice.

“It is fantastic to welcome leaders from across the country to the Liverpool City Region but let me be clear: this cannot just be a talking shop. I want this to deliver concrete plans for improving the lives of the nearly 16m people who call the North home. For the UK to succeed and reach its full potential, it needs a successful and thriving North. This is our chance to make it happen – it’s fantastic that Samira will be joining us to chair proceedings.”

Sir Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the NP11 group of 11 northern local enterprise partnerships, said:

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to work with Government on levelling up, and understand this working Convention is a timely joining of minds across the North. This is an opportunity for us to express the needs of the North at a time that could make a real difference.

“It is intended that this Convention will help accelerate the efforts of Northern businesses and public sector leaders, to lead the way towards truly levelling up the North. As with all of the country, opportunities and challenges to our communities are unique but by continuing to collaborate and stay focussed on our five gamechangers for the North including our Net Zero goals, we believe that the longer-term prize that will be a real and lasting change.

“Samira is a highly esteemed journalist and presenter with an incredible track record, it’s fantastic to have her on board to host the next Convention of the North with the NP11. Her involvement and support puts added weight behind our collective ambitions to realise the North’s full potential on behalf of its 16 million workers and residents.”

Nick Forbes, Chair of the Convention of the North and Head of Newcastle City Council, said:

“Next week’s Convention of the North is all about us working together with Government to unlock the full potential of our cities, towns, and villages, and making sure the North of England has a leading role in the future of our country.

“Having such an admired and respected host in Samira Ahmed only gives further credence to our calls for the Government to work with us and utilise our strengths to achieve our Net Zero transition, develop skills, and build a green and sustainable economy.”

Hosted by mayors, council leaders and the North’s 11 LEP Chairs, the Convention will be held at The Spine, Paddington Village – Liverpool’s first Grade-A office building for more than a decade and the country’s healthiest building in accordance with the international WELL Building Standard to which it is designed.

A livestream link will be made available on the day.

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