Though Mrs May was non-committal about the letter she had received on Monday from 18 out of Yorkshire’s 20 council leaders, she had read it and she was not dismissive as Communities Secretary Sajid Javid nodded his head in vigorous agreement.
He’s the Cabinet minister who met a delegation of Yorkshire political leaders earlier this week to debate devolution and ask them to come up with a more detailed plan – a challenge that has now been accepted.
With Lord Bob Kerslake, the former head of the Civil Service and one-time chief executive of Sheffield City Council, now trying to reconcile the disagreements that remain in South Yorkshire, there’s a desire for this county to start shaping its own future from 2020 so it’s no longer left at the mercy of those in Whitehall who have thwarted this region’s good intentions on so many occasions in the past.
However the council chiefs concerned need to remember this. First, their plan will require public support if it is to command confidence. Second, voters expect more effective governance – they will not support needless extra tiers of bureaucracy. If both are achieved, it will be even harder for Mrs May and Mr Javid to rebuff Yorkshire’s ambitions.