Brexit could scupper Yorkshire devolution deal

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 6 Jul 2017

Hopes of Yorkshire devolution deal are in danger of slipping off the political radar thanks to Brexit, according to a leading academic.

Council leaders in Hull and the East Riding have been pressing their counterparts across the region to unite behind a Yorkshire-wide deal for more than two years.

But the idea has met with resistance elsewhere in Yorkshire.

Under the proposal, a new directly-elected mayor similar to those already operating in cities such as Manchester and London would have responsibility for issues such as transport and economic development.

He or she would also have access to devolved funds from Westminster.

As yet, no clear favourite has emerged to take on the role should a Yorkshire-wide deal be confirmed, although Welcome To Yorkshire tourism agency boss Sir Gary Verity and former Hull West and Hessle MP Alan Johnson have been mentioned as possible front-runners in the past.

Former Hull West and Hessle MP Alan Johnson

However, while talks continue between council leaders across Yorkshire, a new study has revealed a lack of public enthusiasm for devolution in England and widespread confusion over the role of the so-called metro mayors.

The British Academy study said more political effort was needed to win over over the public.

Professor Iain McLean, who co-chaired the study project, said: "Just two months on the from metro mayor elections, this report shows the future for English devolution looks uncertain.

Welcome to Yorkshire boss Sir Gary Verity

"New metro mayors and combined authorities are met with resistance and a lack of public understanding.

"What's more, the recent Queen's Speech seemed to indicate a lack of time or appetite for further devolution.

"As issues such as Brexit loom large, we may see English devolution slipping back down the political agenda."

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