A senior Conservative councillor has quit and joined the Yorkshire Party in protest at Ministers’ handling of the ongoing devolution saga, The Yorkshire Post can reveal.
Mike Jordan, who has served on Selby District Council since 2007, and on North Yorkshire County Council since 2009, said he believed the Government was “not doing Yorkshire the justice it deserves”.
The chairman of North Yorkshire County Council’s Transport, Economy and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee is now the Yorkshire Party’s second elected representative.
He said in a statement: “I am a Yorkshireman through and through and I feel the Government is not doing Yorkshire the justice it deserves.
“In fact I think we are moving even further away from the promise of meaningful powers being devolved to the whole of Yorkshire. This is nothing short of a betrayal of the Yorkshire people.
“Whilst I have respect for many in the Conservative Party, I think more and more people will come to recognise the fact (as they have in Scotland) that you need to have a strong clear
brand representing your area that knows what you are instantly about.
“The Yorkshire Party is a young party but it is obvious what it is about. I want to be part of that helping shape our area of Great Britain in a manner which we all want.”
Yorkshire is currently without a devolution deal like those signed in Manchester, Liverpool and the Tees Valley, with Sheffield City Region metro mayor Dan Jarvis elected without powers due to local leaders’ inability to reach an agreement.
Local Government Secretary James Brokenshire said earlier this month that he would only enter into discussions about a Yorkshire-wide devolution settlement once the more limited South Yorkshire deal, first agreed in 2015, was implemented in full.
Leader of the Yorkshire Party, Stewart Arnold, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled that Cllr Jordan has joined the Yorkshire Party. He is a very senior Conservative figure and brings with him huge experience of politics in the region.
“Mike has recognised that the Yorkshire Party has worked incredibly hard to offer a strong voice, demanding a stronger Yorkshire within a fairer United Kingdom. I am expecting he will be joined by others over the coming months.”