Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Written Evidence

Memorandum by Andrew George MP (RG 62)

  I want to respond to the invitation the Committee has issued in the light of its Inquiry into whether there is any future for regional government.

  There are three issues which I and my fellow Cornish Members of Parliament (Colin Breed, Julia Goldsworthy, Dan Rogerson and Matthew Taylor) wish to convey for the Committee to reflect upon.


  I have been surprised and disappointed that since the resounding "No" vote in the North East Devolution Referendum on 4th November 2004, neither any Government Minister, nor the Leader of the House nor anyone else with an influence on these matters has sought to call a meeting of the Regional Affairs Standing Committee, to provide an opportunity for a post referendum reflection on lessons learned and how to seek to build a new consensus for devolution, if that was desired.

  I have raised the matter in letters, business questions and debate and am surprised and disappointed that the Government has so far resisted the opportunity to permit the Standing Committee an opportunity to debate an issue which would have been the most substantial that the Committee would have considered since it was set up in early 2001.


  I attach with this brief submission a copy of a debate I provoked in the Westminster Hall on 23 November 2005—Local and Regional Government (Columns 450WH-473WH)—

  One of the key principles I felt it was important to convey to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister was a reminder that devolution was fundamentally about "letting go" rather than "holding on for dear life" of the agenda. I also set out a proposal for how that principle could be translated into policy practice.

  Fundamentally, this would involve the Government setting up and "enabling" a process and an opportunity for local authorities and communities to bring forward a "business case" and to bid to the Government for the transfer of powers on the basis of that case from a "menu" of powers set out in the initial enabling legislation.


  Dovetailing into the approach outlined, we have been sent copies of the submission from the Cornish Constitutional Convention and wish to make clear our support for the approach that it takes.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2006
Prepared 15 March 2006