Yorkshiremen and women aspire to “govern the world” and the county must keep its “global role”, William Hague has quipped.
The Commons Leader, described by David Cameron as the “greatest living Yorkshireman”, to the chagrin of many non Tory-supporters, made the joke in response to calls for the county to have more devolved power.
Mr Hague was responding to Labour’s Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield), who called for a Yorkshire government with direct accountability to the county’s residents.
During the Commons business question, Mr Hague replied: “There will be a debate actually, I just announced it, on one of the estimates days on devolution in England and the case for local government, so I am sure you will be able to make the case in that debate.
“But as a proud Yorkshireman myself it’s always been my view that we do not aspire to govern Yorkshire, we aspire to govern the world.
“And it’s very important that we retain that global role in Yorkshire’s involvement in world politics.”
Mr Sheerman had asked: “Do you recall a fabulous part of England called Yorkshire which lies between and is worried about the increasing power and wealth in the south in London and the growing power and independence of Scotland?
“Whereas Yorkshire has very little of any of that.
“Would you welcome the All Party Parliamentary Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire Group manifesto for Yorkshire, Devolution for Prosperity?
“Isn’t it about time we had a debate on Yorkshire, the ability of Yorkshire to speak with one voice, and to have an accountable government in Yorkshire?”
The news comes as The Yorkshire Post prepares to publish its own Yorkshire Manifesto based on readers’ views as to what politicians should be targeting for the region’s future.