Archbishop of York says people feel "left behind" by "metropolitan elites" in London

The Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend Stephen Cottrell Credit: PA

The Archbishop of York has claimed that people in England feel "left behind" by the "metropolitan elites" in London.

The Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, the Church of England's second most senior clergyman after the Archbishop of Canterbury, criticised those who "patronised" people for showing pride in being English.

The Archbishop of York made the comments in the Daily Telegraph Credit: PA

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the archbishop called for England to "rediscover a national unity" and urged for a strengthened regional government within the country to better serve local communities.

He said: "Many English people feel left behind by metropolitan elites in London and the South East, and by devolved governments and strengthened regional identities in Scotland and Wales.

"Their heartfelt cry to be heard is often disregarded, wilfully misunderstood or patronised as being backwardly xenophobic."

On devolution to the English, Mr Cottrell wrote in his article for the newspaper: "What we need is an expansive vision of what it means to be English as part of the United Kingdom.

Mr Cottrell, who recently stepped up to lead the church when Justin Welby took a three-month sabbatical, said this would enable Westminster to lead on issues for the UK but would "empower" the separate nations and regions.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend Justin Welby

He also suggested that sports teams in England should sing their own anthem prior to a match if playing against other UK nations, before coming together to sing the national anthem, God Save The Queen.

"Then when the different nations of the United Kingdom find themselves pitched against each other on the sports field we could belt out our English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish anthems," he said.

"Then sing our national anthem together. And love our neighbour."

ITV News Tyne Tees contacted the government for a response. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing , Communities and Local Government said:

"We are investing billions of pounds to support and regenerate local communities, empowering people to have more control over their areas. The Prime Minister also recently set out our intention to agree County Deals, increasing the powers available to local leaders.

"We will publish a Levelling up White Paper later this year, setting out how we will help further improve livelihoods, spread opportunity and devolve resources and control from Westminster back into local communities."