Devolution: Yorkshire

Part of Adjournment (February, Easter, May Day and Whitsun) – in the House of Commons at 8:45 pm on 10th October 2017.

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Photo of John Grogan John Grogan Labour, Keighley 8:45 pm, 10th October 2017

I could not have put it better. This is not just about the councils, because business also backs the proposal. I saw Jonathan Oxley, the regional chairman of the Institute of Directors, on television this morning, and Bill Adams of the TUC is among the opinion formers in Yorkshire who are very much behind the proposal.

I share many things with the Minister, one of which is that neither of us wakes up on election morning knowing that we will win—we fight marginal seats. Some of my hon. Friends have argued that the Labour party should not propose something that we would not definitely win. Equally, I am sure that some civil servants in Westminster have that traditional metropolitan fear of too strong a body in Yorkshire, which perhaps dates back in folk memory to when York was the capital of Viking England. We need a strong political voice in Yorkshire to argue for things such as better transport. Transport spending in Yorkshire is only £1 per head compared with £10 per head in London. We in Yorkshire are also 20% more likely to die young than those in the south-east, so we need a strong political voice to change things in our society.