'People are just so fed up with the politics they have seen on the TV,' says Yorkshire Party leader

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The leader of the Yorkshire Party has claimed that Brexit will not help the region get a good deal if it returns powers from Brussels only for them to sit in London.

Chris Whitwood told The Yorkshire Post that "once powers are returned from Brussels, they can't languish in London”.

Chris Whitwood, leader of the Yorkshire Party. Photo: Bruce Rollinson

Chris Whitwood, leader of the Yorkshire Party. Photo: Bruce Rollinson

The Yorkshire Party's Brexit policy is to leave the European Union but join the European Free Trade Association (FTA) with the bloc which promotes free trade and economic integration between member states.

Mr Whitwood said that while his party's 28 General Election candidates represent a mixture of Leave and Remain voters, it recognises and respects that 58 per cent of Yorkshire voters voted to Leave in the 2016 European Union referendum and that “we need to do it sensibly”.

He said by joining the FTA the Yorkshire Party would respect the vote of the referendum, help businesses continue trading and gain powers back from the European Union.

But he questioned the use of gaining powers from Brexit if they are then given straight to Westminster.

He said: “Would it really be dealing with the underlying issue of matters being addressed too far away from the people they are affecting?

“To people in Yorkshire is there that much difference between issues being decided on in Brussels and issues being decided on in London?”

Mr Whitwood said this was why the Yorkshire Party has been raising other issues in their election campaign that he says have been eclipsed by Brexit, such as the disparity of education funding between Yorkshire and London, transport issues and climate change.

Funding in North Yorkshire was at £4,954 per pupil, in comparison pupils in Hackney who received £7,873.

The Yorkshire Party's manifesto says they will end education poverty across Yorkshire by putting in place a base funding level for every pupil of at least £5,250 and fight to end the funding gap.

In response to the flooding across Yorkshire, the party called on the Government to declare a national emergency and release emergency funds.

Saying that spending per person on flood defence plans for the South East was more than double that in Yorkshire, something disputed by the Government, Mr Whitwood said the party is pushing for those funding disparities to be rectified.

The Yorkshire Party has further pledged to plant six million trees across Yorkshire to help with flood defences, absorbing water and slowing run-off into watercourses, but also to help carbon-capture in trapping carbon dioxide.

Its manifesto is also one of the most radical when it comes to climate change, aiming for the region to be carbon-neutral by 2030. This goal is more ambitious than all the mainstream parties' national pledges, other than the Greens.

Mr Whitwood said: “I know 2030 is a challenge and it is ambitious, but with something as serious as climate change we need to be ambitious.”

The Yorkshire Party is also pledging to invest in hydrogen and off-shore wind energy to tackle climate change, while implementing a county-wide ban on fracking in what Mr Whitwood labelled as an “ambitious but achievable” plan .

But the messages Yorkshire Party campaigners have been receiving on the doorstep are not in relation to a particular issue, but what Mr Whitwood labelled as issues of 'Westminster complacency'.

He said that while the Yorkshire Party recognise it is a challenge getting their candidates elected, they believe there is no guarantee that areas who have traditionally voted for a single mainstream party will vote that way in this election.

“It's remarkable, people are just so fed up with the politics they have seen on the TV. They are desperate for an alternative”, he said.

“Right across the board the Westminster parties are letting Yorkshire down. Yorkshire deserves better.”