Ex-MP pushes for northern parliament

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A former Blackpool MP is leading the campaign to create a northern parliament which he says will end the region’s reliance on London.

Harold Elletson, who represented Blackpool North and Fleetwood from 1992 to 1997, says people are fed up of the South East dominating national affairs.

Campaign for the North is an all-party pressure group calling for powers to be devolved.

Mr Elletson said: “We should govern ourselves, raise taxes from our own resources and make all the important decisions about education, health, transport and our economy here in the north.”

He believes the Fylde coast would benefit from devolution when it comes to tourism, transport and the economy.

The former MP said: “People are fed up with this rule from London and the South East, they are looking for something else.

“As an MP, the casework I had was completely alien to people from the south of England. We have a whole range of different concerns, interests and prospects.

“For example, we should be the people who decide whether fracking is safe, and if it is safe, we should be the people to benefit from it.

Tax

“Also with tourism, you could look at tax-based issues that would help Blackpool and the Fylde coast, and the kind of grants that are available.

“And we wouldn’t see the problems with Blackpool Airport we are seeing now, because a northern government wouldn’t allow a regional airport to close.”

As well as merging the police force, the campaign is calling for a Bank of the North, and a 10-year transport plan for the region.

The boundaries would hark back to Anglo Saxon times covering the six traditional counties of the North of England, Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Westmorland! and Cumberland, possibly based in the old Viking capital of York.

Mr Elletson is backing a northern parliament over other options because he claims it would mean the best outcome.

He said: “I think an English parliament would be very bad for the north of England as it would be entirely dominated by people from the South East, and I think we would also lose out if we created city 
regions.”