Yorkshire devolution: Minister finally agrees to meet council leaders over region-wide deal

Yorkshire council leaders will present their plan for a region-wide devolution deal to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid at a long-awaited meeting this month.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid arriving in Downing Street. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Mr Javid has agreed to meet the All Party Parliamentary Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire Group in the Commons at 4pm on February 27.

All council leaders, MPs and peers who represent the region will be invited together with businesses, trade union and religious leaders.

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Keighley MP John Grogan described the meeting as “very significant” and added: “The plan for All Yorkshire Devolution, now backed by 18 councils, will be presented to the Minister and we eagerly await his response.”

Council leaders have been seeking a meeting with Mr Javid since before Christmas, when he put forward a suggestion for a compromise to end the long-running saga.

Separately, the Yorkshire Party this week became the first party to announce who its candidate would be for the Sheffield City Region mayoral election in May.

Father-of-two Mick Bower was first selected in October 2016, when it was expected the election would take place the following year. But since then Doncaster and Barnsley councils have pulled out of the devolution agreement reached in 2015, meaning the mayor will have virtually no new powers or the £900m promised at the time.

Three people have put themselves forward to be Labour’s candidate, Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis, former sports minister and Sheffield MP Richard Caborn and Sheffield councillor Ben Curran.

Members of local Labour groups and trade unions now have until February 16 to nominate one of the long-listed hopefuls, at which point a shortlist will be drawn up by party officials.

Ballot papers will then be sent out to all eligible party members in South Yorkshire on a one-member, one-vote basis, before the winning candidate is announced on March 23.