Blair - let the people decide on regions

PRIME minister Tony Blair today backed the Star's fight against regional government for Eastern England.He pledged that if people in the region didn't want a directly-elected assembly based in Cambridge, they wouldn't have one.

PRIME minister Tony Blair today backed the Star's fight against regional government for Eastern England.

He pledged that if people in the region didn't want a directly-elected assembly based in Cambridge, they wouldn't have one.

"It's up to you," he said to people concerned that a huge new regional body would take power away from local authorities."

Mr Blair told The Evening Star: "We're not going to force anyone into having regional government against their will. Nothing will be done without the consent of the people.

"The message from us is clear: If you don't want it, don't have it."

Mr Blair said some regions, like the north east of England, were keen to move towards having an elected regional assembly.

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But there would be a referendum in every region before an assembly was set up there.

FULL exclusive interview in tonight's Evening Star.