Tory 'no' to regional government

OPPOSITION to the Government's plans for regional government will be led by a "born again local" Conservative party in its defence of county and district councils, a shadow cabinet minister said during a tour of Suffolk and Norfolk.

OPPOSITION to the Government's plans for regional government will be led by a "born again local" Conservative party in its defence of county and district councils, a shadow cabinet minister said during a tour of Suffolk and Norfolk.

Eric Pickles, an Tory Essex MP, visited Diss and Ipswich to talk to Tory councillors and assure them the party will fight Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's agenda of super regional authorities and fewer local councils.

Earlier this year prime minister Tony Blair backed the Evening Star's call to say no to regional assemblies - and yesterday Mr Pickles agreed.

"Regional assemblies will not bring any more power to local people," said Mr Pickles, who is shadow transport minister and Tory MP for Brentwood and Ongar. "It's simply the political classes re-arranging the furniture.


You may also want to watch:


"The Conservatives will oppose these ill-conceived plans. We want to encourage diversity of local choice, civic pride and civic accountability."

Mr Pickles has visited Chesterfield, Kent, the West Midlands and the North East talking to Tory councillors and is due in the South West next week.

Most Read

"The North East was the biggest surprise. We have always been led to believe that the region is fully supportive of an elected assembly.

"But an opinion poll commissioned by Tyne Tees Television showed 63% opposition. People are opposed to a `Geordie Mafia' ruling Northumberland, Durham and Tees-side from Newcastle.

"Here in East Anglia, no-one in Suffolk, Norfolk or Essex to be administered from Bedford. It's the very opposite of local."

The Government White Paper Your Region, Your Choice was published in May, laying out the powers of the proposed assemblies for the nine regions of England following devolution to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and London.

It proposes referendums and if voters support the plans, regional councils will be established, elected by proportional representation.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus