Region needs a stronger say in its destiny, say MPs

Date published: 08 February 2012

MPs are calling for the North to have a stronger say in its destiny with an elected regional government.

Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams and Ashton MP David Heyes believe the coalition cabinet is dominated by Southern politicians who “know little and care even less” about the economic and social problems facing the North.

The two Labour MPs are patrons of the Hannah Mitchell Foundation, a think-tank with the primary aim of developing the case for directly-elected regional government for the North of England — either as a whole, or for the North-East, Yorkshire and Humber and the North-West.

The MPs said: “The debate over the future of the United Kingdom ignores the growing political marginalisation of the north of England.”

Former deputy Prime Minister John Prescott’s hopes of setting up an elected assembly for the North-East failed in 2004 when 78 per cent of people voted against it in a referendum. But supporters say times have changed and the coalition’s austerity programme will widen the North-South divide.