Scotland, England

Map of the UK with a line drawn across itThis map, created in 2014, has been widely shared again

Thousands of people in the north of England have been using the hashtag "take us with you Scotland" to express their upset about the result of last week's general election, and Scottish nationalists are welcoming this English minority with open arms.

Last Thursday's general election was a rough one for the Labour Party in its traditional stronghold in the north of England. But further to the north, the left-leaning Scottish National Party won nearly every seat it contested. That political contrast has made some left-wing voters in places like Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield look fondly on their neighbours. Since last Thursday's election in Britain the phrase "take us with you Scotland" has been used more than 24, 000 times.

"Genuinely beginning to wonder if the North of England becoming a part of Scotland would be better for us, I really am, " tweeted Aaron Miller from Yorkshire. Some cracked jokes under the tag after the North West Motorway Police account, which gives traffic updates, announced that they had "picked up a pedestrian on the M62 who was trying to walk to Scotland."

After an initial spike of jokes over the weekend, the hashtag really took off when users start to mobilise in support of around a year-old petition on the campaigning site The petition calls for the north of England to secede from the rest of the country and join up with Scotland, and more than 12, 000 people have signed it.

Its creator, a Sheffield resident who calls himself "Stu Dent", set it up to coincide with last year's Scottish independence referendum, and he also created a map imagining the boundary of a "Scotland plus the north" country.

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