This section contains extracts from published articles, letters and opinion pieces from members and supporters of the Yorkshire Party and from others who have an interest in Yorkshire devolution. It shows how much the party has shaped the debate over the years.
September 7, 2018
The inaugural meeting of the Convention of the North saw Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, argue that a bold new approach was needed, with wide-ranging powers transferred to the region so it was no longer dependent on the Government to solve its problems. Afterwards, The Yorkshire Post said; “But Mr Forbes’s call also highlights, yet again, the importance of sealing a meaningful One Yorkshire devolution deal as soon as possible to give the county greater sway on the decisions that affect the lives and finances of ordinary residents.”
Lord Wallace Picture: Liberal Democrats
Writing in The Yorkshire Post, Lord Wallace, the Lib Dem peer and former minister, said: “We urgently need to rebuild confidence and trust in democratic politics, before political conflict gives way to street conflict. That can’t be done without bringing power back from Westminster to regional and local government, thus involving more voters in discussing issues that directly concern them with representatives they know.
August 25, 2018
Yorkshire Post Opinion Edior Tom Richmond writes: “When will Yorkshire’s political leaders start exploiting this county’s best asset – the people who live and work here – in its battle of wills with the Government over devolution?
“I ask this question at the end of yet another exasperating week in which Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry again rebuffed the One Yorkshire prospectus during his so called ‘listening and learning’ tour of the region.”
August 23, 2018
The Yorkshire Post writes: “The goodwill that was supposed to be generated by Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry’s week-long tour of the region has immediately been undone by his disingenuous comments about the One Yorkshire deal. So much for the Minister promising to listen and learn.
“For, by accusing local leaders here of failing to put together a sufficiently detailed blueprint, Mr Berry gives further credence to all those who believe that he is the roadblock to reform.”
August 13, 2018
In a letter to The Yorkshire Post on voting intentions, Yorkshire Party Treasurer John Hall writes: “…successive governments have failed Yorkshire. Failed us in many ways, including school funding, transport, health, and infrastructure spending. A report from the Institute for Public Policy Research makes shocking reading, comparing public spending in the north to the prosperous south. The Yorkshire Party is a regional political party promoting a devolved administration for all of Yorkshire and 18 of the 20 councils are behind this.
August 13, 2018
The Yorkshire Post wrote: “…here are lessons that Yorkshire should be learning from the North West when it comes to this county’s approach to devolution. For, while Greater Manchester does, indeed, have a high-profile mayor in Andy Burnham, and his deputy Beverley Hughes … there are some Labour MPs – like Lisa Nandy – who believe peripheral towns, like Wigan, Bolton and Bury, are being slowly sidelined.”
August 11, 2018
In an interview with Rob Parsons of The Yorkshire Post, Councillor Richard Foster, leader of Craven Council, talks about the One Yorkshire devolution plans supported by 18 Yorkshire councils. He said: “There are certain people in government who really don’t want this and are doing whatever they can to stop it. In real terms the 18 have agreed to it, there are still issues to thrash out on it but it’s done really.”
August 11, 2018
Commenting on special analysis it has commissioned into Yorkshire’s ‘demographic timebomb’ as part of its series ‘A Tale of Two Yorkshires’, The Yorkshire Post says: “… today’s findings give further credence to One Yorkshire – and the importance of a countywide devolution deal. For, given that this issue is impacting upon every community, it’s all the more reason for there to be a body in place that can take account of the current, and future, needs of residents.”
August 6, 2018
In her Yorkshire Post column bemoaning the lack of a Government industrial strategy for Yorkshire, Jayne Dowle wrote: “…Yorkshire as one of the largest UK regions not to benefit from an industrial strategy in any of its areas.
“However, this cavalier dismissal of major towns and cities, and countless communities in between, has its roots in the stand-off between Yorkshire civic leaders and the Government over the One Yorkshire devolution plans.
“Although two councils in South Yorkshire, Doncaster and Barnsley, back One Yorkshire, ministers insist that the Sheffield City Region agreement must be honoured first and foremost. And so we find ourselves in a state of suspended animation which, against the background of Brexit, does business confidence no good whatsoever.”
August 3, 2018
The Yorkshire Post says: “The case for the One Yorkshire devolution deal is made even more compelling, and necessary, by the Government’s latest snub to this region. The stance adopted by Ministers is illogical.”
August 3, 2018
Natalie Bennett Picture: Rama, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-f
After she attended a One Yorkshire coalition event hosted by the Archbish0p of York, the Green Party’s former leader Natalie Bennett, who lives in Sheffield, told the Telegraph and Argus, Bradford: “… one of our chief problems lies in that lack of local power and autonomy, which Yorkshire devolution would address.
“The Green Party, however, differs from other members of the One Yorkshire coalition in supporting not one single individual as a focus of devolution, but rather a powerful regional assembly, on a model resembling that of the Welsh Assembly.”
August 1, 2018
In a joint statement by business and union leaders to The Yorkshire Post, the IoD’s regional chairman, Jon Geldart; the CBI’s regional director, Beckie Hart; and the TUC’s regional secretary, Bill Adams, say: “We support One Yorkshire whose aim is to bring to fruition the plan, backed by 18 Yorkshire councils and the Mayor of South Yorkshire, for One Yorkshire devolution with an elected mayor.
“We believe this would assist growth in the local economy, improving productivity and the creation of good jobs. By uniting as a region, we can ensure Yorkshire’s voice is heard clearly nationally and internationally.”
August 1, 2018
The Yorkshire Post says: “Today’s annual celebration of Yorkshire pride should be the last without a definitive devolution plan in place which unites the region, galvanises the Government and empowers local leaders…
“Given Yorkshire Day’s origins stem from the discord over the local government shake-up of 1974 when historic county boundaries were redrawn, it’s very fitting that today’s leaders now have the confidence – with the support of inspirational people – to take back control of this region’s future.”
August 1, 2018
GP Taylor writes in The Yorkshire Post: “As a county, we are on the verge of one of the most exciting times for us in decades. As Britain exits from Europe, Yorkshire has the opportunity to have powers devolved from Westminster.
“It is only right and proper that a county the size of Yorkshire is taken seriously as an economic powerhouse. We are leaders in industry, leisure and services. We are a large geographical county with the skills and abilities of a nation.
“We would have the opportunity for Yorkshire people to make choices for Yorkshire people.”
July 30, 2018
Lord Wallace Picture: UK Parliament
In a letter to The Yorkshire Post on the implications for the regions of Brexit, Lord Wallace wrote: “Devolution for Yorkshire is stuck: a low priority for a government largely composed of politicians from London and the home counties …The preference of most people in Yorkshire is for a One Yorkshire framework… Ministers, shuffling rapidly from one job to another and preoccupied with the confusion over how to manage Brexit, have failed to engage with Yorkshire’s leaders to negotiate our preferred model.
“We need all elected representatives from this county … to tell the Government that this is not good enough, and that we also need a significant increase in our region’s decision-making powers to cope with the disruption that Brexit will cause,” wrote the Lib Dem peer.
July 13, 2018
In a statement reported by the LocalGov website, among other media, 18 Yorkshire councils backing One Yorkshire devolution said: “The One Yorkshire proposal has the cross-party support of 18 authorities and the Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, ready to deliver a devolution deal right now … would offer huge benefits for the region and the wider UK economy.
“With the constructive support of the Government, an agreement can be in place and a Mayor for One Yorkshire elected by 2020.”
July 12, 2018
The Yorkshire Post says: “It’s time Ministers started listening. The Government is already on the wrong side of the argument when it comes to the unacceptable state of the region’s railways, the North-South education divide and the future of the Northern Powerhouse. Does it really want to add devolution to that list, when council chiefs have listened to Ministers,… and come up with a workable plan, which has the potential to transform Yorkshire’s economic prospects and benefit the rest of the country?”
July 7, 2018
Yorkshire Post reporter Arj Singh wrote that former Minister Robert Goodwill has become the first Conservative MP publicly to back an all-Yorkshire devolution deal with powers and money flowing to the region from Westminster. The Scarborough and Whitby MP and ex-Immigration Minister told the Government “doing nothing is not an option” with 18 out of 20 of the region’s councils backing ‘One Yorkshire’.
July 7, 2018
The Yorkshire Post, welcoming the stance taken by MP Robert Goodwill (see above), said: “This is a significant intervention and his Conservative colleagues would be advised to follow suit. As a former Minister, Mr Goodwill has better insight than most on how the mechanics of government work, and the extent to which Whitehall marginalises regions like Yorkshire.”
July 3, 2018
Yorkshire Post reporter Arj Singh wrote that James Brokenshire had committed to respond “in detail” to proposals for the devolution of powers and money from Westminster to a Yorkshire-wide mayor. In his first public comments on the plans since being appointed in April, the Local Government Secretary told the newspaper he was “very conscious” of the “lively debate” over devolution in Yorkshire.
June 25, 2018
Reporter Arj Singh wrote in The Yorkshire Post that research showed Yorkshire people felt they had little or no influence over decisions in Westminster that affected their area. The study suggested Yorkshire and Humber was the joint most politically disenfranchised region in England. “And the data strengthened the case for devolution in the region, with far more people (41 per cent) thinking more money should be raised and spent locally than supporting the current balance (12 per cent), while only 16 per cent though more should be raised and spent by Westminster.”
June 16, 2018
Letter writer Ben Jenkinson, of Wintringham, Malton wrote in The Yorkshire Post about history lessons for the North in a post-Brexit UK. “Yorkshire and the North must rise up and remember its proud history, its heritage and its spirit. It’s time to take back control of our own affairs from an ignorant and dismissive Westminster.”
June 11, 2018
Welcoming an independent economic review of options for devolution, the five Yorkshire Chambers of Commerce said: “Today, the Chambers – based on member sentiment – are collectively announcing that they are open to a Yorkshire-wide devolution deal in principle but that they would like to see additional economic evidence for this approach prior to lending their full support for the initiative.”
June 11, 2018
Ian Gillies, the Conservative leader of City of York Council, told Rob Parsons, of the Yorkshire Post, that Yorkshire politicians shouldn’t be “too precious about their own areas” in the dispute over the future of devolution in the region.
He said a “Yorkshire product” would be the best option and that he had made the case to Ministers about the benefits of a devolution deal covering the region.
June 9, 2018
Jo Miller, the chief executive of Doncaster Council, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “It’s time for a radical and collective approach to public funding that focuses on local places rather than individual government departments. That way, we can ensure that the money invested in prevention which results in savings elsewhere, can be reinvested locally, rather than flow back to Whitehall.
“Devolution at scale, like the One Yorkshire proposals, can help bring this about. It’s time.”
June 5, 2018
Treasury Minister Robert Jenrick told journalist Arj Singh of The Yorkshire Post the Government was willing to negotiate the transfer of powers and money to a Yorkshire-wide devolved authority. He was open to getting “One Yorkshire” plans – backed by Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis and 18 out of 20 of the region’s councils – “moving forwards”.
June 2, 2018
In an interview with The Yorkshire Post’s Rob Parsons, Yorkshire Party Leader Stewart Arnold said: “We will keep pushing as we want as many powers as possible. Having waited all this time, to come up with a bit of local economic management and a bit of bus management and a bit of skills training, if that’s all that devolution ends up being, I think people will say ‘what was all that about, all that discussion we’ve been having’.
“It’s got to be meaningful and have an impact on people’s lives.”
May 10, 2018
Sir Peter Newsam, Church Lane, Thornton le Dale, in a letter to The Yorkshire Post: “Does anybody seriously suppose that a directly-elected mayor for the whole of Yorkshire would make more sense than a directly-elected one for the whole of Scotland? The must-have-a-mayor idea (Tom Richmond, The Yorkshire Post, May 8) is an absurd requirement of a past Chancellor of the Exchequer.”
May 8, 2018
In a column on the Sheffield City Region Mayor and how the rest of the UK views Yorkshire, Yorkshire Post Opinion Editor Tom Richmond said: “f the rest of Britain can see that the area is serious about devolution, and replicating the unity of the Tour de Yorkshire over its future political leadership, it will make it harder for the Government to resist a proposal driven by the people.
“Much rests with James Brokenshire, the newly-appointed Communities Secretary, being more open-minded than others following his stint in Northern Ireland.”
May 5, 2018
Rachel Reeves, Labour MP for Leeds West, writing in The Yorkshire Post about the election of colleague Dan Jarvis as Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: “Yorkshire is a great county with a great heritage. But it could be even better with an even stronger and more prosperous economy. The Government needs to listen to the people of Yorkshire and give us the powers that we want and need.”
May 4, 2018
Kevin Hollinrake, Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton, and co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Northern Powerhouse, writing in The Yorkshire Post: “Yorkshire’s great strength is our size and our diversity; with finance, legal, manufacturing, medical, digital, retail, food, agriculture and energy all strong sectors contributing to a healthy economy and then, of course, there’s the huge tourist industry. We have so much and yet we could have so much more if, together, we allowed ourselves to become the masters of our own destiny.”
April 29, 2018
Picture: The Times
Columnist Alex Massie wrote in The Times: ” It is easy to scoff at the fledgling Yorkshire Party … but as a conceptual matter they are on to something. Centralism is a vice but postcard variation is a virtue. Remember devolution is a process not an event.”
April 19, 2018
Yorkshire Party leader Stewart Arnold gave an interview to Telepolis, the German internet magazine, in which he said: “England is very centralised: it’s all about London, it’s all about the South East – there is the most money, the economy is the strongest etc. This means that the other regions have the disadvantage.
“We have a separation between the North and the South. On one side there is London and the South East, on the other the rest of the country, which is neglected.
“Even the Government has now recognised that the United Kingdom does not have a single economy.
“It is also looking for ways to boost economic growth in the North. These are not necessarily methods we support, but at least they understand the problem. The conclusions it draws from it are just wrong.”
April 14, 2018
Picture: Steve Nimmons, Flickr
Lord David Blunkett, Labour former Cabinet minister and MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “For me, the issue has never been one of the Sheffield City Region or a Yorkshire-wide election. The two seem to me to be perfectly compatible if, and for some it has been a big if, the idea of an incremental approach makes common sense.
“This could quite easily then form a building block to a future wider deal for those who believe that it is in the best interests of the whole of Yorkshire to come together.”
April 13, 2018
Picture: The Yorkshire Post
Yorkshire Post journalist Rob Parsons, wrote in the newspaper: “One of the main tasks in any Sheffield City Region mayor’s in-tray would be to get an agreement on devolution over the line. So the result of the vote on May 3 is unlikely to be the end of the story for who ultimately wields power across our region.
April 9, 2018
The Yorkshire Post says: “It is incumbent upon the Government to proceed rapidly with the One Yorkshire proposal and give this region the deal it both demands and deserves. Indeed, the Institute for Government’s call for Brexit to be used as an opportunity to overhaul devolved arrangements offers the chance to aid the cause of regional devolution, by rebalancing the way that funding is shared out.
“That provides the ideal opportunity to give Yorkshire a fairer deal. Above all, though, the report is yet another reminder that for Brexit to succeed, the regions need to be firing on all economic cylinders, and for us to do so, we need devolved powers.”
March 31, 2018
Picture: University of Salford
Lord Michael Heseltine told The Yorkshire Post: “The brand I think could set the world alight is Yorkshire. All over the world it’s … evident to me there are people who have the greatest affection and sympathy for that remarkable county.
“So drawing together its strengths, and obviously this includes the strengths of the great cities that are components, is moving into a world competitive opportunity.”
March 31, 2018
The Yorkshire Post said: “With 18 out of 20 councils now backing One Yorkshire, it’s imperative that the momentum of recent months is maintained. As Lord Heseltine says, it’s in the national interest that the greatest of all counties maximises its true potential. He should know.”
March 31, 2018
The Yorkshire Post’s Feedback column contained this:
March 28, 2018
Chas Stewart, Yorkshire Party member from Skipton, in a letter to The Yorkshire Post, wrote: “What arrogance of Dan Jarvis to treat the electors in his Barnsley constituency and the voters in the new Sheffield City Region with equal disdain by thinking that he can hold both the job of the Barnsley Central MP and new Mayor of Sheffield City Region.”
March 22, 2018
Picture: Mace Group
Steve Gillingham, Director for the North at Mace, the consultancy and construction firm, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “At this pivotal moment in Yorkshire’s devolution journey, businesses need to get behind local government leaders to help secure a deal, and government must strike whilst the iron is hot to ensure Yorkshire doesn’t become the forgotten heart of the Northern Powerhouse.”
March 19, 2018
Chris Gauton, Yorkshire Party Executive Committee member, wrote an opinion column in The Yorkshire Post on future transport strategy. He said: “The failure of our transport system … is down to the short-termism of the Westminster parties when policy ideas normally run the length of a Parliament and have no substance other than political dogma.
“Politicians do not sit in traffic trying to get to work avoiding potholes in roads and motorways. Neither do they do have to stand up on packed trains trying to get to work every day. These are the realities of travelling around Yorkshire in 2018.
“What Yorkshire needs is a long-term transport strategy that plans until at least 2050 [and includes] a fully integrated transport system for the whole of Yorkshire where one organisation is responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of highways, bridges, railways, buses, trains, trams, bicycle routes.”
March 16, 2018
The Yorkshire Post says: “There are challenges ahead, not least with ensuring the Government does not use devolution as an excuse to abdicate its responsibilities when it comes to providing adequate levels of funding to the region, but the considerable efforts made in recent years on securing the best possible deal for Yorkshire may soon be paying dividends.”
March 10, 2018
Picture: The Yorkshire Post
Tom Richmond, Yorkshire Post opinion editor, writing in the newspaper: “I’m coming to the conclusion that the biggest threat to the One Yorkshire devolution deal is, in fact, some of the 18 council leaders and chief executives advocating this approach.
“Why? They keep forgetting that the most important people of all in this debate are not themselves, and their cushy job titles, but residents and taxpayers of this great county.”
March 3, 2018
Brian Winterbottom, from Netherton, Huddersfield, writes in The Yorkshire Post: “For too long we have gone cap in hand to those with the purse strings in government and where are we as a result?
“Be sure of one thing. The politicians who run the roost at Westminster will not wish to change the status quo and the power that goes with it. Yorkshire at this moment is crying out for strong leadership.
“It is time for this wonderful county of ours to punch its weight.”
March 1, 2018
The Yorkshire Post says: “… there’s a desire for this county to start shaping its own future from 2020 so it’s no longer left at the mercy of those in Whitehall who have thwarted this region’s good intentions on so many occasions in the past.”
February 25, 2018
Ed Cox, the director of think-tank IPPR North, told The Yorkshire Post: “There is a huge opportunity with the One Yorkshire deal, to bring together a group of people and a region at scale, you could really talk in serious terms about proper devolution.”
February 23, 2018
Jonny Ball writing in the New Statesman magazine under the headline ‘Why devolution could split Yorkshire in half’, said: “All but two of the 20 local authorities in Yorkshire now support all-Yorkshire devolution, leaving Sheffield City Region as an unwanted gift for which the recipients are making no attempt to pretend they’re grateful.”
February 10, 2018
Yorkshire Post letter writer John Simpson, York, said: “We need comprehensive electoral and constitutional reform, which we will never get with these two self-interested parties controlling the system.
“So when is The Yorkshire Post going to support PR, when a ‘Yorkshire’ party could get dozens of MPs to achieve power to develop Yorkshire, instead of the assorted party hacks we now have?
February 9, 2018
Bikatshi Katenga, the Yorkshire Party candidate in Huddersfield in the last General Election, tells The Yorkshire Post: “Only a Yorkshire assembly deal will deliver diversity and equality
“All the evidence says that electing metro-mayors does not encourage women’s participation into politics. The Combined Authority mayors in the English regions of Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Tees Valley and West Midlands are all men – there is no female metro-mayor.
“We can contrast the situation in the English regions with Scotland and Wales which have legislatures elected by fair votes. In Scotland, until recently, three of the main parties were led by women and, of course, the First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon) is a woman.”
February 5, 2018
In the Red Pepper magazine of left-leaning politics and culture, Ian Martin, a member of the Yorkshire-based Same Skies Collective, rethinks devolution, asking if geography has been sufficiently understood as a driver of privilege and exclusion.
“Whether it is about spending money (such as prioritising and investing in London’s schools or infrastructure over other parts of the UK) or it is about creating a political and legal climate (such as one that benefits types of industries concentrated in London but not one that benefits types of industries concentrated elsewhere), London continues to be economically successful because UK government has decided actively to do something to make it so.
“Each time these decisions are successful, they strengthen London’s case for being prioritised above everywhere else in any future return-on-investment analysis.”
January 30, 2018
In the Metro newspaper, freelance journalist Sam Ramsden wrote of ‘discovering’ the Yorkshire Party and gave five reasons why Yorkshire should get independence: its economy, size, culture, sport, and food and drink. “With a shocking lack of funding coming from Westminster nowadays, it comes as no surprise that Yorkshire folk are warming to the idea of independence. For a moment, I will indulge in this drastic notion of an independent county and fight the corner of those who want Yorkshire to go it alone.”
January 26, 2018
Picture: The Scottish Government
Scottish former First Minister Alex Salmond told a Leeds business event that the One Yorkshire model was “irresistible” and the region should press ahead with the plan as a whole, as a matter of urgency.
“My epistle to Yorkshire is that I am delighted that you’re getting your act together… seize the moment, don’t take crumbs from the table, demand what is the proper entitlement of the greatest county in England.”
The Yorkshire Post report a: https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/salmond-hails-one-yorkshire-campaign-for-devolution-as-right-idea-1-8981609
January 26, 2018
Stewart Arnold, leader of the Yorkshire Party, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “I am pleased to see the plans for a huge investment in the Yorkshire’s transport infrastructure announced by Transport for the North. We welcome the report. We do feel though that this could have gone further.”
January 25, 2018
Stewart Arnold, leader of the Yorkshire Party, wrote in the i newspaper: “[The] preference for a One Yorkshire devolution deal should come as no surprise. Yorkshire is an identifiable community with broadly definable borders going back hundreds of years. It has an incredibly diverse landscape, economy and peoples.
“Yorkshire has ten universities, a broad manufacturing base, a thriving services sector, tourism, farming, fishing, dales, moors, wolds, minsters (including one of the great cathedrals of Europe), cities, market towns, villages, ports, beaches, cliffs, rivers and the Brownlee brothers. It has been the home of some of the greatest writers in the English language.
“Its inventions have made an impact across the world. It was the original base to some of the greatest companies in Britain.
“We remember very proudly the BBC graphic showing us finishing 12th in the 2012 Olympics medal count It has a huge sporting heritage.
“Yorkshire has a population of five million people almost identical to that of Scotland and an economy larger than several EU countries. It has a flag, an emblem and a civic day. In short (and I am not the first to coin this phrase), Yorkshire is a country in miniature.”
January 23, 2018
R Spreadbury, Liversedge, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “Here is an idea so our local MPs can make amends for scuppering Brexit, ignoring the electorate in general and their Northern voters in particular. Support a cross-party campaign for devolution for Yorkshire. This might give us a bit more say in our social and economic destiny than at present, not a hard task.”
January 23, 2018
Comment editor James Hare wrote for Nouse, the University of York’s newspaper and news website: “The news that Yorkshire looks likely to be granted devolution as a whole, rather than as a disparate collection of city regions has brought a smile to the face of many Yorkshirefolk, myself of course very much included.
“Yet we should not stop there, for while devolution is certainly a cause for a great deal of celebration, Yorkshire must have loftier aspirations – starting with regaining the territory ripped from it by generations of London bureaucrats, unable to understand culture even if it was spat into their overpriced lattes or sprinkled over their caviar.”
January 17, 2018
John P. Hall, Yorkshire Party member in Harrogate, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “Devolution is quite a hot topic … and, although it is often assumed that progress is being made through the appointment of city mayors, in reality, this is a misguided approach to giving regions the real power they need.
“This current method of operation divides the regions and leaves the smaller towns on the margins. EU development funds currently being invested in the most deprived areas of the UK will have to be replaced after Brexit.
“There is no better way of investing in these regions than appointing local assemblies run by local people. When public opinion is tested, such as the recent Doncaster and Barnsley public polls, there is an overwhelming support for a one deal solution for Yorkshire.”
January 13, 2018
Picture: University of Salford
Lord Michael Heseltine, the Conservative former deputy prime minister, writing in The Yorkshire Post said: ” My question for the Government is: if you look at what we have achieved in those seven areas, including Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester and London itself, what about the other conurbations? What is happening in Newcastle, Yorkshire, South Hampshire and the East Midlands – great areas of economic importance? What is the Government going to do to achieve what has been achieved in the seven conurbations in those that currently lag behind?
“It is politically charged – I am the first to recognise that – but the price that will be paid by those economies where people are not led effectively and do not enjoy sufficient local autonomy is politically unacceptable.”
January 13, 2018
John P. Hall, Yorkshire Party member in Harrogate, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “A Yorkshire-wide devolution deal is the only deal that can really work for all of Yorkshire. It is one of the areas of the UK that has most to lose from Brexit. A bold plan is needed by the Government for enterprise in Yorkshire. City mayors can be quite effective in their immediate vicinity but smaller towns, market towns and large areas of the countryside are excluded.
“Having lived in the Thirsk area for many years, I know the people of Hambleton and can assure you that, given the vote, the likelihood is that they would back a one Yorkshire deal.
January 9, 2018
The Yorkshire Post wrote: “This newspaper has not swayed in its belief that full devolution is the best outcome given the global appeal of Yorkshire and its brand and the time has come for politicians to pull together and ensure we get the best possible deal for all.”
January 7, 2018
Phil Hegarty, head of the Yorkshire International Football Association, spoke of Yorkshire devolution to The Set Piece sports website. “I think we do feed into that, whether people want it to or not. It’s that whole thing about devolution – how much responsibility do you take for yourself?
“What we’ve done here is not asked anyone’s permission, we’ve not gone through anyone else’s funnel; we’ve just gone out and asked the questions ourselves and come up with the results ourselves. So, hopefully that’s what we’re going to see from the political side of this as well.”
January 7, 2018
Michael McGowan, former Labour MEP for Leeds, wrote in The Guardian: “The words of Simon Jenkins are spot on about the urgent need for Yorkshire devolution and for the region to have a common voice in national and international politics (Will neglect drive Yorkshire to a Catalan-style revolt?, January 4), especially as relations between the UK and Europe are in disarray.”
January 4, 2018
The Guardian newspaper columnist Sir Simon Jenkins wrote in the paper: “A yearning to embed local identity in local democracy is hardly ignoble. When it is denied, as the Tories found in Scotland and the Spanish government in Catalonia, it feeds resentment. Why Theresa May should want to fill the council chambers of Leeds, Bradford, Halifax and York with enemies is a mystery. Since the Christmas vote, Javid has tried to sound emollient. But he is a centralist to the core and is fixated with his Sheffield separatists. He has stated categorically that ‘we will not consider a deal for the whole of Yorkshire’.
“Whitehall’s policy towards devolution within England has long been to whittle away traditional sources of local revenue, and replace them with ad hoc central grants, for which local politicians must grovel and plead. It is centrism at its most humiliating and demoralising.
“Regeneration, so desperately needed in Yorkshire, is not about state patronage but about local confidence and self-help. It is sad that Javid, like his predecessors, should want Sheffield to drift off into the mists of the Peak District. At least the rest of Yorkshire has the guts to resist.”
December 20, 2017
Picture: The Church of England
Press release on website of the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu: “Further talks on an all-Yorkshire devolution proposal have now been called for by leaders from across the political parties, from unions, and from business. For Archbishop Sentamu, these talks are an essential step towards a resolution that will maximise the benefit to all parts of Yorkshire.”
John Sentamu said: “It is time to consult with leaders of councils and civic groups. We must work together. Many Peoples, Boroughs, Councils and Counties, but One Yorkshire”
December 21, 2017
Picture: Doncaster Council
Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, announcing the result of her council’s local consultation on devoluion, said: “This result has clearly shown that Doncaster people want a wider Yorkshire deal, and that they identify with the county and want to be part of a larger regional devolution story,”
December 20, 2017
Chris Whitwood, Yorkshire Party deputy leader, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “Devolution is not about creating another layer of petty bureaucratic government. It is about giving local people greater powers and funding to improve their local area and the lives of those who live there.”
December 6, 2017
Stewart Arnold, leader of the Yorkshire Party, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “It was an inevitable consequence of what looked like a tailor-made deal for Northern Ireland post-Brexit that other devolved parts of the United Kingdom started to make their bid for things to be done differently.
“Yorkshire, of course, has no collective voice when it comes to these matters and, as with the negotiations as a whole, we are left on the sidelines unable to influence the argument and incapable of having Yorkshire’s best interests represented.”
“Devolved parts of the UK are jockeying – rightly – to get what is best for their communities. In my opinion, agreement on the One Yorkshire devolution deal can’t come soon enough so as to give us a voice in the future, in our future, before the opportunity is gone.”
December 6, 2017
Paul Martin, Rebecca Whyman, joint co-ordinators Rotherham Green Party, wrote in the Rotherham Advertiser: “Do we want to belong to the artificial economic construct of Sheffield City Region or do we want to come together with the region we have an affinity with in a wider Yorkshire Regional deal? And do we want a single Mayor to take all the decisions or do we want a Regional Assembly representing all of our political opinions and scrutinising those big decisions like the Welsh Assembly or the Scottish Parliament?
Come on Rotherham Council, give Rotherham people a say over our future, this is so important and could affect us for decades to come if not for generations.”
November 27, 2017
Stevie Manion, Yorkshire Party Don Valley candidate in the General Election, wrote in the Star, Sheffield: “We wish to continue our growth and the spread of our message for a one Yorkshire deal. That gives us control of our future as part of the UK. Proud strong regions will only make the UK as a whole stronger. There are not many as proud as Yorkshire folk.”
November 22, 2017
Stevie Manion, Yorkshire Party Don Valley candidate in the General Election, wrote in the Rotherham Advertiser: “In Yorkshire, we are proud, friendly, supportive, diverse and hardworking. We are asking for what we deserve, what other regions have and what is fair.
“Modern politics in the UK seems to focus only on London, the South East and only occasionally on the North. With a Yorkshire Assembly/Parliament, we will have the flexibility to act on issues that are needed locally: road infrastructure projects, rail projects and tackling school short financial coming.”
November 18, 2017
Chris Whitwood, Yorkshire Party deputy leader, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “The Yorkshire devolution debate is rapidly becoming a tale of two futures. Representing the worst of solutions is a divisive and effectively impotent Sheffield City Region. The Government’s offer of an additional £30m per year pales into insignificance when compared to the Greater London Authority’s annual budget of £15.9bn.”
November 17, 2017
Nigel Boddy, of Darlington, writing to the Darlington and Stockton Times: “I do not understand the Government’s plans for regional devolution. It must be obvious to anyone that if this process is ever to work and engage the people the ancient counties of Yorkshire and Cornwall should be the starting point.”
November 15, 2017
This May, metro mayors were elected in six English city-regions, but Yorkshire missed out on this latest wave of devolution. Jack Kellam and Akash Paun write in an Institute for Government blog that next time devolution in the county needs to take a step forward. “The Government should ensure that Yorkshire is not left out again.”
October 27, 2017
Redcar and Cleveland Councillor Steve Key wrote in the Darlington and Stockton Times: “Unlike the Tees Valley, Yorkshire is one of the most prosperous and successful parts of the UK. Its annual income of £113bn is greater than that of Hungary, Luxembourg, Bulgaria and Wales. Its population, at 5.3m, rivals that of Scotland. At 4,600 square miles, it is by far England’s largest county. Yorkshire has 12 universities and won 14 medals at the Rio Olympics. The ‘Yorkshire’ brand is internationally famous.
“We, south of the Tees, have a right to be part of the devolved Yorkshire enterprise. We should ditch Tees Valley and be where we belong.”
October 28, 2017
John P. Hall, Yorkshire Party member in Harrogate, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “There are no major downsides or disadvantages to the devolution concept – it works and it would be disappointing if the presiding government did not give it fair consideration.
” The most advanced example of devolved governments can be seen in Germany and Switzerland, both resulting in very prosperous countries. Many areas of Britain would benefit from devolution. Some areas, however, particularly near London , have no need for change. Yorkshire is one of those regions that is desperately needs to make progress.”
October 24, 2017
Author and journalist David Barnett wrote in the Independent newsaper: “The Government has so far refused to acknowledge the One Yorkshire bid for a region-wide devolved body to run the whole of Yorkshire and the Humber. But while the arguments rage on, it is the people who are suffering.
“The time to set aside differences is now, and for the Government and Yorkshire to come to an agreement on how devolution will proceed. And when that finally happens, Yorkshire will shine.
“Because as a Lancastrian living in the White Rose County, I can say this with some authority: don’t worry about putting money into the hands of Yorkshire folk – they’ll certainly spend it wisely.”
October 17, 2017
Peter Wood, Scaftworth Close, Bessacarr, Doncaster wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “HS2 will now bring little economic benefit to the rest of South Yorkshire and, because the route has been moved eastwards, some places like Mexborough are seeing new properties demolished and many more blighted. Sheffield’s blinkered determination to secure the HS2 station can hardly give Doncaster and Barnsley confidence that a ‘Sheffield City Region’ will benefit the whole of South Yorkshire and so a One Yorkshire devolution option now looks more appealing.
“As a son of York I care about ensuring prosperity for the whole of Yorkshire and better transport connections are important matters which can only be secured by a ‘One Yorkshire’ body.”
October 13, 2017
Journalist Aisha Iqbal wrote in the Yorkshire Evening Post: “We, in Yorkshire, should be dictating our own future together, rather than being bullied by the Government’s thinly veiled and – frankly – arrogant separatist tactics. And another thing. We are all getting so caught up in calling for more devolved powers and cash that we are forgetting one crucial thing. Devolution in England is a misnomer. It is really just a reversal of the increasing centralisation of the last few decades.”
October 10, 2017
The Yorkshire Post wrote: “Local leaders know that a strong and united Yorkshire can make a difference, not just here, but to the future prospects of Great Britain if the right framework for the future is agreed. The people of God’s own country will watch tonight to see if this Government is with us, or against us.”
October 6, 2017
Dylan Thwaites, the Huddersfield-born entrepreneur, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “Why do London school pupils get twice as much spent on them per head as those in Yorkshire? Why is it that for every £10 spent in London on infrastructure, Yorkshire gets only £1?
“Is it fair that each DUP MP who supports the minority Government earns £100m for his region, yet the 50-plus Yorkshire MPs have no such luck? And, apparently, no power or influence.
“It is questions like these that make me question the current situation. Yorkshire people are not whingers, but we do have a sense of fairness and wherever you look, it is clear that we aren’t getting our fair share. We have a bigger population than Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland yet nowhere near the power; it is no surprise that we receive much lower public spending per head.”
October 2, 2017
Chris Sharp, writer on the CityMetric website, part of the New Statesman magazine, wrote: “In the pub, it was always the outsider that created the threat that achieved the improbable unity. What Yorkshire needs is an outsider to walk through the door and cause the Yorkshire councils to fight a common enemy.
“Helpfully, Sajid Javid did just that. The communities secretary recently wrote a letter to Yorkshire MPs letting them know how he wanted things to pan out.
Yorkshires response should be: ‘Where are you from? Westminster? What do you think you’re doing round here? Come on lads, get him!’”
September 23, 2017
Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines in a Saturday essay in The Yorkshire Post wrote: “Yorkshire doesn’t want to be the hole in the Northern Powerhouse. Not least because we need a clear voice for the advocacy of the region’s interests at the Brexit negotiations.
“But all this goes beyond regional concerns, because Yorkshire devolution would be for the good of the whole country, not just Yorkshire. The national economy would benefit from a decrease in the gap with foreign competitors, and social cohesion would benefit from a narrowing of the gap between North-South incomes.”
September 23, 2017
Penistone Town Councillor Wayne Chadburn, and Yorkshire Party member, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “I want to see a Yorkshire which takes control of its future not just its buses. This can only happen if we speak with one voice and employ something we Yorkshire folk are famous for towards those who would stand in our way – good old Yorkshire grit, determination”
September 19, 2017
Sir Steve Houghton, Barnsley Council leader, told The Star newspaper in Sheffield: “In a whole Yorkshire deal without South Yorkshire, South Yorkshire is the poorer relation. A whole Yorkshire mayor on the national stage would be second only to London, we want to be part of that.”
September 18, 2017
Nick Butler, CEO of Connect Yorkshire, the not-for-profit business support group, told its website: “A public sector fund is needed to help … hubs to grow. The suggested hubs are IT, Tourism, Food and Advanced Manufacturing including low carbon, renewable energy and nuclear.
“There are already sufficient businesses in the region to start hubs in those sectors. There is no stronger regional brand in the whole of the UK than Yorkshire and business must be encouraged and given the opportunity to exploit it.”
September 1, 2017
Diana Wallis, the former Lib Dem Member of the European Parliament and now member of the Yorkshire Party, wrote in The Yorkshire Post; “It is excellent to see the idea of Yorkshire-wide devolution taking off and now gaining momentum. What does ‘devolution’ mean and why have the politicians of Yorkshire taken so long to sort themselves out?
“However, as we know too well from John Prescott’s failed regional referendum in the North East all those years ago, if the offer in terms of powers, accountability and transparency is not good enough, devolution could fail again 15 years on.
So some words of caution are in order along with encouragement to get this right this time.”
August 22, 2017
The Yorkshire Devolution Movement wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May. YDM Chairman Nigel Sollitt wrote: “The ‘Yorkshire’ brand is world renowned and no government body could be better placed to support, nurture and maximize the potential of that asset than one that represents All-Yorkshire. This would include support in securing the best procurement and export deals, increasing productivity and, thereby, reducing unemployment throughout the county.”
August 21, 2017
Matt Thomas, Yorkshire Party member, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “The coronation of Sir Vince Cable might give some Lib Dems hope for the future, but there will be others, especially in Yorkshire, who will decide that this is the moment to leave the party.
“The Liberal Democrats had a disastrous General Election in Yorkshire. They suffered their largest vote share decline of anywhere in the UK. They lost their last two MPs in the county, meaning in the last three years they have lost three MPs and two MEPs. In effect, their entire Parliamentary representation.
“These loses are symptomatic of the fact that the Lib Dems seem to have nothing to say to the North and to Yorkshire in particular. One of the reasons that the Lib Dems did so badly in Yorkshire was that something like a third of the party’s own supporters had voted to leave in the Brexit referendum. So making one in three of your supporters feel unwelcome by inferring they were racists and little Englanders was never a sensible strategy.”
August 19, 2017
Picture: Robbie MacDonald
Stewart Arnold, leader of the Yorkshire Party, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “If we want real diversity, reflecting Yorkshire’s community, then an assembly or parliament is the answer. It would go a long way to renewing politics. If we want the dynamism and skills many business leaders will bring, then by all means let them stand for election. That’s democracy.”
August 3, 2017
Bill Adams, TUC Regional Secretary in Yorkshire and Humber, wrote in the Brighouse Echo: “The sooner our region can get devolution from London, the sooner people who know Yorkshire can get some much needed investment in our creaking infrastructure.”
July 25, 2017
Stewart Arnold, leader of the Yorkshire Party, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “I have a very simple challenge for those 17 Conservative MPs [elected in Yorkshire at the General Election] today: You were elected to represent Yorkshire constituencies. There are 17 of you. Stop putting your party first, and start standing up for Yorkshire. Tell Theresa May and Chris Grayling that you’ll no longer support a Government that is going to spend billions on Crossrail 2 in London but won’t even electrify a rail line linking the two biggest cities in the north.”
June 26, 2017
Chris Whitwood, Yorkshire Party deputy leader, wrote in The Yorkshire Evening Post: “If voters in Yorkshire can learn anything from the current constitutional crisis, it is that if enough of us support local parties, not only will we turn the heads of those in Westminster, but Yorkshire, once itself a royal throne of kings, could once more be kingmaker.”
May 31 2017
GP Taylor, the writer and broadcaster, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London all have assemblies. We in Yorkshire are not allowed this democratic right even though we have more people and a bigger economy than Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Yet, Yorkshire is denied the ability to make decisions for itself. In 1974 our boundaries were changed and the historic Ridings abolished – not our choice. Governments appear to use a divide and rule policy when it comes to Yorkshire. This was clearly visible in the Northern Powerhouse debate. Northern power has to be based on the county and not cities within it.
May 16, 2017
Stewart Arnold, leader of the Yorkshire Party, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “The General Election should be an opportunity to allow the people of Yorkshire to set their own priorities to the distinctive challenges the county faces.
“Obviously, Brexit is a defining moment in our politics but there are so many other important issues – education, health and social care, our crumbling infrastructure and our relationship with the rest of the UK. It should also be an opportunity to break open the devolution logjam which has held back Yorkshire’s potential for some time now.
“All the main parties should lay out clearly and unequivocally their plans for governance in Yorkshire. The sort of hints and allusions that Theresa May gave in her interview with this newspaper were frankly not good enough. Does she want city regions? Metro mayors? A Yorkshire-wide settlement? We are none the wiser. It’s Yorkshire, after all, so a bit of straight talking should be the least we expect.”
January 11, 2017
Chris Whitwood, Yorkshire Party deputy leader, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “The lights of New Year fireworks hadn’t even flickered out before the esteemed pinnacle of journalism that is The Sun, launched a tirade against Yorkshire’s own City of Culture – complete with rather dubious sounding ‘quotes’ from unnamed visitors. What more reason did I need to visit Hull?
“Such cheap shots are not only symptomatic of shoddy tabloid journalism, but underline the repeated, indeed incessant, damning of the North by capital-centric media.”
December 14, 2016
Chris Whitwood, Yorkshire Party deputy leader, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “Having visited Doncaster’s Tent City a number of times, one cannot fail to be moved by the sense of community that has emerged. Members of the public giving food and sleeping equipment, volunteers giving up time and energy, and a community amongst the residents themselves because, as it says on one of the tents, they are ‘Homeless but not Hopeless’.”
August 2, 2016
Commenting on the Brexit vote in The Yorkshire Post, Stewart Arnold, Yorkshire Party leader, wrote: “The level of engagement with local people, who mostly feel isolated by the whole [political] process, needs to be intensified.
“This is an opportunity now for a broader democratic discussion shaped by local people who need to feel more connected to what will be happening next May. The European Union referendum result also showed, amongst many things, that people in the North were tired of being neglected.”
July 28, 2016
Chris Whitwood, Yorkshire Party deputy leader, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: Could Pokémon Go hold the answer to poor electoral turnout and political disengagement?
“Amid Brexit political turmoil, and the voices of ordinary people are, as ever, overlooked. If this is the new political reality no wonder so many people are immersing themselves in an augmented world.”
July 20, 2016
Picture: De Montford University
Arianna Giovannini, lecturer in Local Politics, Department of Politics and Public Policy at De Montfort University, Leicester published an article “Towards a ‘New English Regionalism’ in the North? The Case of Yorkshire First”.
She said: “While the English regional devolution agenda has traditionally been characterised by a top-down approach of regionalisation, the analysis developed in this article shows that in the contemporary context new pressures for a system of political regionalism are forming from the bottom up.
“This is particularly true in regions like Yorkshire, where the presence of historical and cultural heritage, regional identity and a distinctive economic outlook have now started to provide the basis for regional autonomy claims—so as to revert from the bottom-up entrenched processes of economic and social peripheralisation.”
July 11, 2016
Diana Wallis, the former Member of the European Parliament and member of Yorkshire First, forerunner of the Yorkshire Party, wrote about Brexit in The Yorkshire Post.
“For Yorkshire, it is a question of how and what the region can achieve in the coming processes and discussions.
“People need to be listened to and engaged in these at whatever level and preferably at a level nearer to them and where they live their lives. This does not preclude the pressing need to find a way of being involved in global and international decision-making in a democratically accountable manner.”
May 30, 2016
Richard Carter, one of the founders of Yorkshire First, predecessor to the Yorkshire Party, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “Sajid Javid MP, the Business Secretary responsible for taking the 250 BIS jobs from Yorkshire and relocating them to London, gave platitudes and nice words with little or no substance in his recent article in The Yorkshire Post. He talks about the Northern Powerhouse, but what we get is the Northern Poorhouse.
“It was good to see that he could tell Yorkshire what the Government was doing for this region in just 20 minutes. It reminded me of the hilarious Blackadder sketch about the 20 minutes – though that was about the life expectancy of recruits in the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War. Twenty minutes. For the future of Yorkshire.
“It actually shows they may say they have a long-term plan, but it would be nice to know what they have decided for us. There was no plan, there is no plan. No plan to address our under-performance as a region. No plan to create joined up thinking as to how we deliver a prosperous region.”
May 25, 2016
Geff and Helen Brook of Scalby Avenue, Scarborough wrote in the Scarborough News: “We agree with the Devolution of Yorkshire, the setting up of federal, self governing states, to facilitate fairness and confidence in knowing that Yorkshire is being governed by Yorkshire people, the money that we pay in taxes is spent in Yorkshire for the welfare and benefit of all the people of our great counties of Yorkshire.”
May 6, 2016
Nigel Sollitt, chairman of the Yorkshire Devolution Movement, wrote in the Whitby Gazette: “The great success of the Tour de Yorkshire for a second year running along with the determination to win the bid for the Tour de France that inspired that event two years ago shows what we are able to achieve when the whole of Yorkshire pulls together.
“Surely it is time that we had the powers to apply that abilityand determination to matters that affect everyday life in Yorkshire, powers to realise our full potential in the same way Scotland and Wales have.”
April 13, 2016
Laura Oxley, a PhD student with the Psychology in Education Research Centre at the University of York, wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “Yorkshire devolution is a fantastic opportunity for education in our region to be improved with new and innovative ways of working tailored to local needs.
“Increased educational funding and greater control over the spending of this money would have a significantly positive impact on the life chances of children and young people growing up in Yorkshire today.
“A devolution deal for the whole of Yorkshire would be a positive first step towards ensuring educational equality for all young people in our region.”
February 26, 2016
Picture: The Conversation
Fiona Edmonds, senior lecturer in Anglo-Saxon, Norse, and Celtic, at the University of Cambridge wrote in The Conversation, the academic news and opinion website, about devolution and the origins of the North-South divide. “The case of Yorkshire highlights the tension between the new city regions, the old counties and an ancient northern identity. Medieval allegiances could be multi-layered, and encompass local, regional and national loyalties. The same balance is at stake in the modern devolution agenda.”
March 6, 2015
Bob Buxton, then Yorkshire First local election candidate wrote in the Ilkely Gazette: “Whether it’s education, too much new housing or our critically under-invested local transport, centralised government does not reflect the needs of our region. A Yorkshire Parliament with powers similar to the Scots will allow us, not Westminster, to decide on our priorities and allow us to strengthen the United Kingdom creating a region that works for all the people of our Yorkshire.”
December 31, 2014
Calling for a lower voting age and energise debate, Connor O’Neill wrote in The Yorkshire Post: “The issue of devolution is one that won’t go away after the Scottish referendum and the debate on English votes. Having control over our own taxes and spending and having more say in our own affairs, is for me, the best option. Who knows how to run Yorkshire better than the people who live and work here?
“Why do we need others to decide what is best for us? We don’t. We can have a fairer voting system that reflects what we choose here. We can spend money where Yorkshire needs it to be spent, not where London wants it to be spent.