Boris Johnson describes northern cities as 'depopulated'

Boris Johnson pictured in London last week. Credit: PA

Conservative politicians are proving they don't always chose the right words to describe a part of the country where they most need a surge in support at the polls.

Lord Howell of Guildford was recently forced to apologise when he referred to the north east as "desolate" (he later said he meant the north west but the damage was done).

Tonight Boris Johnson has been pondering where to house Britain's vastly expanding population.

He said Britain's northern cities were "depopulated."

By 2050 Britain will be the second biggest country in the EU, and by 2060 - when I fully intend to be alive - we will have more people than Germany. And yes, I can see you gulp, and no, I don't know exactly where they will all go either; though when I drive through the cities of the north I see plenty of depopulated space.

Not on the same scale as "desolate", perhaps, but the Tories might want to find some more positive words beginning with the letter "d" to describe The North.

Delightful? Dynamic? Dramatic?