Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Any Other Business

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Any Other Business

Article excerpt

Byline: By Peter Young

Newcastle's position as the capital of the North East has gone pretty much unchallenged until now.

But historic Durham City, tipped to become headquarters of any new regional assembly, has emerged as a contender.

Its new Liberal Democrat rulers have produced a blueprint for the future which contains three crucial aims - to promote flourishing communities, quality services and make Durham a capital city.

Council leader Sue Pitts said: "Durham is very important to the North East so we intend to make sure Durham is thought of as the capital of the North. The council will work with local industry, the university, commerce and local people to make this plan a reality."

Newcastle City Council leader Tony Flynn thinks differently.

He points to the fact that Newcastle has an international airport, is regional headquarters for business and shopping, has Premier League football and rugby, and top-class transport links as well as a cultural heritage to match the best.

Coun Flynn said: "I can understand Durham's aspirations, but I don't think it can compete with Newcastle, which is recognised nationally and internationally as the regional capital".

SENIOR Newcastle Labour councillor Sir Jeremy Beecham, chairman of the Local Government Association, is an old sparring partner of new Tory leader, Michael Howard.

When Sir Jeremy introduced Mr Howard, then a Tory Cabinet minister, at the former Association of Metropolitan Authorities some years ago, he came up with one of his famous put-downs. He reminded members that in the 1930s Cambridge University produced one of the country's most notorious spy rings, Anthony Blunt, Kim Philby, Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess.

Then in the 1960s it turned out men like Kenneth Clarke, John Gummer, Norman Lamont and Michael Howard, who went on to become leading Conservative ministers. …

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