Yorkshire devolution proposal rejected by Sheffield MPs

Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South EastClive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East
Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East
Sheffield's Labour MPs have rejected calls for a directly-elected mayor for all of Yorkshire.

Jon Trickett, a West Yorkshire MP and shadow cabinet member, last week suggested Yorkshire and Humber should be given devolved powers.

But Labour's MPs in Sheffield and Bassetlaw, who back existing devolution plans for the Sheffield region, were quick to point out his views do not represent those of the party.

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Clive Betts, speaking on behalf of the area's five Labour MPs, said Mr Trickett's proposal would not be in the best economic interests of their constituents.

"The particular model of devolution which the government is offering is fundamentally about economic regeneration in recognised travel-to-work areas and the associated policies related to skills and housing," he added.

"It is not about regional devolution of the type and nature represented by the sort of Yorkshire regional government suggested 15 years ago. Neither is it about the recreation of a regional development agency."

A mayor for the Sheffield City Region, stretching from Barnsley and Doncaster to the Derbyshire Dales, was due to be elected this May, as part of a deal providing £900m of additional funding for the area.

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But the public vote was last week postponed following a successful legal challenge by Derbyshire County Council, which claimed people in Chesterfield had not been properly consulted.

The Yorkshire Party, which wants a new parliament for the entire county, welcomed the setback for what it called the 'divisive' Sheffield area deal.

Party leader Stewart Arnold said: "We will now work to make sure any county wide settlement delivers real powers to make a difference to peoples' lives, the economy, the environment and so on."