Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Asking for a devolution update
Full Council in Gateshead last week: I asked Martin Gannon, leader of the Council, for an update on devolution to the North East. Our region entered negotiations through the all-Labour North East Combined Authority with the Government for a devolution package. Labour mishandled the whole issue and frankly they have been a shambles. The plans collapsed and Labour in the region are split over the issue with the three authorities north of the Tyne threatening to go their own way. In Gateshead, I moved a Lib Dem motion in September calling for a constitutional convention to be set up to take forward proposals that would be acceptable to the region and the Government. The Labour group accepted the proposals. Martin has raised the convention proposal with other Labour council leaders in the NECA area but we are awaiting news on responses. Hence my question at Council on 15th December.
There wasn't much light thrown on the issue but Martin did reveal that the business community is pressing for a meeting to move ahead with devolution.
This issue is now quite pressing as many other regions are going ahead with devolution. Thanks to the shambolic North East Labour Party, our region has been left, not in the slow lane, but the no lane.