Lib Dems pledge to create Yorkshire Parliament while Labour back One Yorkshire devolution deal in manifestos

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The Liberal Democrats would bring in law to make it possible for a Yorkshire Parliament to be established if they were to win in next month’s General Election.

The party’s manifesto, unveiled yesterday, recognised how “in some areas of England there is a greater appetite for powers” and set out how Jo Swinson would bring forward legislation to allow areas to set up devolved governance - specifically a Yorkshire Parliament building on the One Yorkshire campaign.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson. Photo: PA

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson. Photo: PA

The manifesto said: “In some areas of England there is a greater appetite for powers, but not every part of the country wants to move at the same speed and there cannot be a one-size fits-all approach.

“All areas should however have access to the same opportunities and mayoral authorities should not be ranked higher in terms of the powers with which they can be granted.”

But it also suggested if one local authority was blocking a deal going forward, such as with Sheffield and Rotherham in a One Yorkshire sense who do not want a region-wide deal, they could be overruled.

The manifesto said: “We will proceed by consensus as far as possible but will not allow one local authority to veto a coherent proposal.”

Meanwhile Labour committed to “decentralise decision-making and strengthen local democracy”.

Their manifesto, released today, said: “We reiterate our commitment to One Yorkshire, and will make directly elected mayors more accountable to local councillors and elected representatives.

“We will re-establish regional Government Offices to make central government more attuned to our English regions, to support our regional investments, and to enable the shift of political power away from Westminster.”

Arianna Giovannini, Interim Director of IPPR North, said: “A full commitment to devolution to all areas across England, starting from a One Yorkshire devolution deal, reflects a need identified by IPPR North research. When the North prospers, so does the nation, and all places across England- from towns to cities to counties- should have access to real powers and resources".

On Labour's plans on re-establishing regional government offices, and moving the National Transformation Fund Unit to the North, she added: “We need clarity on how these regional government offices would work in practice. Local leaders must be in the driving seat of regional government. They must also be empowered to build on the innovations that are already in place, recognising and supporting organisations like Transport for the North.

“Moving the National Transformation Fund Unit to the North is a step in the right direction. But ultimately, as our research has shown, we need a more coherent and inclusive plan for devolution that can benefit all areas across England.

“To be clear, nothing less than a ‘Devolution Parliament’ which returns power to regions across England, can begin to tackle the deep social and economic challenges that we face. This must be a priority for all parties”.

The Tories previously committed to further devolution and Boris Johnson previously said he would be “mad keen” on a One Yorkshire deal in principle.

Jake Berry, the Northern Powerhouse Minister, said last month after the Queen’s Speech: “The new White Paper will set out our ambitious plan to achieve 100 per cent devolution in the North of England, meaning we will create more mayors, and give more powers to existing mayors.”

He added: “We are already working with local leaders in West Yorkshire to agree an ambitious devolution deal, but we want to start conversations with other areas in the North too.”