Nothing was agreed during yesterday’s hugely significant Parliamentary debate on Yorkshire devolution.
However, as a sign of progress, the sight of MPs from across the political divide coming together to discuss an issue the outcome of which will determine the county’s future prosperity should not be underestimated.
It was fitting that Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis, a consistent and influential voice throughout the long-running devolution saga, should have opened the debate. Mr Jarvis was right to point out that the region is being left behind – Manchester and the Tees Valley are among the places that have struck devolution deals and are already reaping the rewards – and was right, too, in his assertion that this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put in place a meaningful arrangement for the people of Yorkshire.
Building on the message from the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, who prior to the meeting implored political and civic leaders to get behind a One Yorkshire deal, Mr Jarvis urged the Government to listen to voters and help pave the way for a wider agreement that could come into effect after 2020.
There is growing recognition within Government of the changing dynamics of this debate, however the Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry said the timetable for such a deal would be “tight.”
Equally there are still some MPs who continue to question the benefits of a single agreement for Yorkshire and last night’s meeting was a reminder, should we need one, of
the deep-rooted disagreements that have bedevilled what has at times been a tortuous saga.
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.