THE Conservative leadership race has ended with a battle between two candidates connected to Yorkshire.

Foreign secretary Liz Truss and former chancellor Rishi Sunak find themselves in the final stand off for the top job as Prime Minister.

Both candidates have drawn on their connections to the region - and the stereotypical Northern traits often attached to Yorkshire - over the years.

Ms Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, attended Roundhay School, Leeds, in the 1980s and 1990s – a school which has been rated as outstanding by Ofsted since 2013.

The foreign secretary made references to her comprehensive state schooling as she launched her leadership campaign.

The leadership hopeful said: “I didn’t come from a traditional conservative background. I grew up in Paisley, and I went to a comprehensive school in Leeds.

“Many of the children I was at school with were let down by low expectations, poor educational standards and a lack of opportunity.

“Too much talent went to waste.”

Her comments were slammed by political leaders in the city, including Labour councillor and Leeds City Council leader James Lewis.

The council leader said: “Like Liz Truss, I went to Leeds Council schools in the Thatcher and Major years and the truth is it was Conservative government underfunding of schools for 18 years that really let kids down.”

During a visit to a Norfolk school in 2018, former Leeds resident Ms Truss shared a photo of herself holding a whippet.

“I’ve lost the flat cap but still got the whippet,” she tweeted.

Meanwhile Mr Sunak, who has held his Richmond seat since 2015, caused a stir online when he revealed his love for Yorkshire Tea during budget preparation in 2020.

“Nothing like a good Yorkshire brew,” he said.

The politician and his heiress wife also own a £2 million Grade-II listed Georgian manor house in North Yorkshire village, Kirby Sigston.

According to an article in The Times, the former chancellor is a “devotee of the pork and apple pie from Kitson & Sons butchers in Northallerton and has picked up several verbal ticks from his adopted home”.

The article reads: “Around No 11 he is often heard to say ‘now then’ and ‘job’s a good’un’.”

But could the candidates draw on their combined connections to West and North Yorkshire to win party members over?

For Councillor Rebecca Poulsen, Conservative group leader on Bradford Council, those local links could prove to be a “critical” element in the finalists’ political campaigns.

“It shows from the results from 2019, the Northern vote is critical,” Cllr Poulsen (Worth Valley, Conservative) said.

“We won elections in seats we’d never won before in the North. These locations are benefitting from having a Conservative member of Parliament bringing investment into their areas, very much like we have in Keighley.

“From our point of view, they understand the issues that we have in the North. Now we’ll hopefully be able to drive forward the levelling up agenda.”

The leader added: “It’s great to have both final candidates with connections to Yorkshire. We’re having a hustings in Leeds where members will be able to go and quiz both candidates.

“I’m personally not decided yet. I’m going to wait and see what comes out at the hustings.”