Notice: Sorry for the lack of updates/work on the site – we’ve all been quite busy recently. This does highlight an important issue though, the fact that we’re always looking for people to contribute to the site. So please get in touch if you want to write for us!
Good news, though! A Yorkshire MEP has joined with us in calling for a referendum on the creation of a devolved Yorkshire Assembly. Diana Wallis MEP kindly emailed us a statement explaining her position, which is reproduced in full below -
Yorkshire & the Humber, which is the region I am proud to represent in the European Parliament, is something distinct historically, culturally and economically.
That is my starting point and as I look around the European Parliament I see many of my colleagues here representing regions which have so much more autonomy than ours and which in many cases are both more prosperous and more progressive. So these two things, the distinctiveness of our region and the astonishing potential, have long led me to believe that Yorkshire should have greater autonomy in running its own affairs. For that reason, I was supportive of the last government’s proposal to put the idea of elected regional assemblies to the people in a referendum. I was hugely disappointed when the government then withdrew the offer of a referendum but to me the rationale for greater regional autonomy remains and I think we need a debate followed by a referendum even more. I would support your call for a referendum laying out a number of options on the future of Yorkshire.
We’re very excited, especially after the lukewarm response to our plans from the first two MEPs, to announce that a major figure in Yorkshire politics has come out in support of Yorkshire devolution.
Cllr Carl Minns, Leader of Hull City Council, explained:
If you’re going to have devolution (and I believe we should) then we will need a proper assembly for Yorkshire
This is obviously very good news, and shows that Yorkshire devolution is a serious idea, supported by serious and influential politicians across the county.
We are in the process of contacting all Yorkshire MEPs to ascertain their views on devolution, and have our first two responses today, with Yorkshire MEPs Godfrey Bloom (UKIP) & Andrew Brons (BNP) explaining their positions.
Mr Brons’ assistant (?) Chris Beverley stated:
Mr Brons supports the British National Party’s manifesto pledge to devolve all powers properly capable of exercise to local level and revived county council government.
Mr Bloom explained:
To be honest it is something I have not considered as I have spent the last 20 years trying to obtain self government for the United Kingdom.
I believe there would be much merit in a return to our constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy with the House of Lords not the ECJ as our final court of appeal. Then and only then could we advance the excellent case of smaller national government and more local (perhaps non party based) government.
Obviously we would’ve preferred full support for the creation of a devolved Yorkshire Assembly, but both responses do appear to recognise the need for devolution of powers away from British central government, down to a more local level.
This gives us hope that in the future we may see more MEP support for Yorkshire devolution.
We are pleased to announce that Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Tom Blenkinsop has stated his support for Yorkshire devolution plans. Mr Blenkinsop explained:
I was in favour of a north east assembly, so I would back a Yorkshire one too
Regional strength and devolution allows a greater voice for voiceless
It has to be noted that Tom’s constituency is one which, whilst being in the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire, is not in the Yorkshire Region – it is instead in the North East.
As such, whilst he supports the idea of Yorkshire devolution (along with devolution to other regions), he hasn’t come down one way or the other on whether he would support the participation of his constituency in any devolved Yorkshire institutions.
Regardless, that is a debate for another day – and currently we are just pleased to see another MP come out in support for Yorkshire devolution.
Yorkshire Independence is pleased to announce that Leeds Labour activist Darrell Goodliffe has placed his support behind the idea of Yorkshire devolution. Mr Goodliffe explained:
Regional devolution gives people control over their lives where they need it most, on their doorstep and in their community, that’s why it’s so important in addressing Britains democratic deficit and that’s why I support Yorkshire devolution.
Darrell blogs at http://momentsofc.wordpress.com.
Yorkshire Independence is pleased to announce that Middlesbrough Council candidate Dan List has come out in support for our Yorkshire devolution plans. Mr List explained:
David Cameron has mentioned many times, his desire to redistribute power from Whitehall to local areas. Why not go further in this case and give Yorkshire devolved representation that would allow us to make decisions on behalf of ourselves.
People might argue that it would mean more politicians and more cost but a devolved Yorkshire assembly would offer a more democratic voice and a more efficient method of delivering the services that are truly needed and valued by people within the region.
This is especially important for us as it proves Yorkshire Independence is not bound by narrow party interest, as we now see support for Yorkshire devolution from Tory, Lib Dem and Labour supporters.
Of course we at Yorkshire Independence are delighted, and hope more politicians from across the county will use this opportunity to stand up for Yorkshire.
Good news, folks! The Liberal Democrat candidate for Barnsley Central in the 2010 election, Chris Wiggin, has come out in support of Yorkshire devolution.
When questioned by Yorkshire Independence regarding his views on our devolution plans, he explained:
I agree with Yorkshire (and all other regions) having an assembly with equal powers to Scotland
We at Yorkshire Independence were very excited whilst watching PMQs yesterday, as one of our region’s MPs stood up and actually called for the creation of a Yorkshire Parliament!
David Blunkett asked:
“Can you think of one single reason why the people of Yorkshire shouldn’t determine their own priorities?
“And, mischievously, one reason why the people of Yorkshire shouldn’t have their own White Rose Parliament?”
This is the type of thing we need, and it’s brilliant to see Yorkshire MPs finally standing up and pointing out the raw deal that Yorkshire gets by remaining without devolved, democratic representation within the UK.
Mr Blunkett also pointed out the unfair funding situation that currently exists, with Yorkshire being significantly underfunded, compared with the devolved areas of the UK.
We have one thing to say: Well done, David.
Today the Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond, ‘postponed’ the Leeds Trolleybus scheme.
This congestion busting scheme would have provided a large boost to the Leeds economy, at the same time improving the quality of the air which we breathe. Yet it has been refused funding, despite Metro (the West Yorkshire Transport Executive) managing to reduce costs by millions. This was still not good enough for Mr Hammond, MP for Runnymede and Weybridge. A constituency quite far from Yorkshire.
If the axe had fallen on the Trolleybus scheme because of general cuts in the Transport budget, that would have been one thing. After all, we Yorkshire folk are reasonable, if belt tightening is going on everywhere, it’s only right that we do our bit.
But no, the Tyne & Wear Metro, the West Midlands Metro and the Nottingham Tram are all getting big upgrades, paid for using our tax money!
This is the Supertram scandal all over again, and proves that without a strong, independent body standing up for Yorkshire, Leeds will continue to be neglected by Westminster.
Welcome to Yorkshire Independence, a cross-party campaign concerned with securing devolved government for Yorkshire. This movement was launched in August 2010, after noting how the Yorkshire identity had no political outlet. We aim to secure this outlet by encouraging debate on the viability of devolution to the Yorkshire region, and ultimately advocate a referendum on the creation of Yorkshire institutions with powers similar to those of the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish Assemblies.
As a recently founded movement, our first aim is to create a network of like-minded individuals who share a desire to see Yorkshire exercise a degree of political autonomy. If you support that aim, please get in touch with us, by clicking here.