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Local Infrastructure (East Midlands)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:57 am on 20th March 2018.

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Photo of Toby Perkins Toby Perkins Labour, Chesterfield 9:57 am, 20th March 2018

I have no intention of forgetting anything. I was perhaps more Chesterfield-focused but, yes, it is important to remember those cities. We should also remember that the surrounding area of Chesterfield, with north-east Derbyshire and Bolsover, is a fairly coherent unit that is basically the same size as Derby city but does not have anything like the same sort of focus.

I want to pose a challenge regarding the desire for politicians to get together. There was a real opportunity with devolution. The Government spoke about it strongly in 2015 but my sense is that it has been petering out since the 2017 election. I was disappointed that Chesterfield did not join the Sheffield city region. There was a coherent unit there that had a long-standing track record of attracting infrastructure spending and there was some real dishonesty about the debate on the whole matter. Notwithstanding that, there is no replacement Nottinghamshire-Derbyshire deal, and I think that exactly what I saw in the run-up to 2015 is what I have seen since: petty political infighting, meaning that our area is unable to punch to its weight, let alone above it. I urge all political leaders to get together to ensure that we get a devolution deal for the north-east midlands.

I again congratulate the hon. Member for North East Derbyshire on securing the debate and raising many important points. Our area really needs to start performing to its potential.