Having read Mrs Lewell-Buck’s column, “It’s time we had our say about power”, I really do question whether our MP has actually read the North East Devolution Agreement she opposes or not.
She raises concerns about funding and investment.
A North East mayor will receive £30million of funding each year for 30 years, and there’s a potential £1.5billion for a North East investment fund.
She raises concerns about the actual powers of a mayor.
The mayor will have responsibility for transport in our region, that £1.5billion investment fund, health and social care, the post-16 education, skills and employment support system, adult skills funding, for business support, rural growth; the list goes on.
If you don’t believe me, the Agreement is but a Google search away.
Behind her rhetoric there surely lurks another reason for Mrs Lewell-Buck’s opposition – fear.
Fear that a North East mayor would be able to effect long needed change in our region – change the Labour government of 13 years failed to deliver and which this Conservative Government is trying to deliver now.
Fear that if the mayoralty proves a success she and other Labour colleagues in the House of Commons will be out of their seemingly singular job –blaming the Conservatives.
Let’s have a mayor and look forward to the change they will bring.
She also claims a mayor would lack democratic legitimacy owing to low turnout in a future election. Can I take that to mean she believes her Labour colleague, Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Bird, who was elected on a measly 16% turnout in 2012 lacks legitimacy?