As one of the country’s most respected town hall leaders, he’s just completed a three month secondment on the setting up of the nationwide ‘test and trace’ system where he also gained some invaluable insight into Whitehall’s modus operandi.
And while he’s clearly respectful of the top civil servants, he believes London-centric decision-making is, in fact, detrimental to the rest of Britain because there’s insufficient ‘nouse’ when it comes to the practical implementation of policies, hence why he, too, advocates Whitehall ministries being moved out of the capital’s confines and to regions like Yorkshire.
His argument, and experience, is that “the closer you get decisions made to the people” who will be impacted most of all, the better the quality of decision-making because officials will appreciate the importance, and impact, of their pronouncements on others.
It is a timely intervention as Boris Johnson’s government ‘toys’ with relocating the Houses of Parliament to York while the Palace of Westminster is refurbished. It’s as likely as Tory HQ moving to the North, another ‘wheeze’ that has not come to pass after being floated last year.
Yet, if the PM is serious about his ‘levelling up’ and Northern Powerhouse policy agendas, he will take heed of Mr Riordan’s advice, accept that London is a different world to Yorkshire and move ministries here.
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