Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Events Leading to an Historic Result

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Events Leading to an Historic Result

Article excerpt

Some highs and lows during the campaign for an elected North East assembly.

1997: Plans for an elected regional assembly included in Labour's General Election manifesto in response to pressure from campaigners.

Scotland and Wales vote in favour of devolution.

1998: Supporters announce plans to step up the campaign. John Prescott voices support.

1999: Charles Kennedy pledges support. Campaigners scale down plans for a 54-member assembly on advice of ministers.

2000: Opponents go on the offensive, claiming an assembly will create a new tier of bureaucracy. A referendum within five years is promised.

2001: Labour's General Election manifesto contains a pledge to set up assembly linked to local government reorganisation. It is omitted from Queen's Speech.

2002: BBC poll claims 72% of people in the North East back assembly. John Prescott unveils white paper setting out plans for regional assemblies linked to local government reorganisation. Government at last announces plans which would enable the North East to hold a referendum in the Queen's Speech.

Gateshead East and Washington West Labour MP Joyce Quin announces she will quit Parliament at the next election to help get a North East Assembly running and is tipped as a possible leader.

2003: John Prescott announces plans for referendum for autumn of 2004. Durham revealed as possible headquarters. Business bosses set out conditions for their support including a voice in decision-making. John Prescott kicks off information campaign with Nicholas Raynsford in Durham.

February 2004: Michael Howard tells the Chronicle another layer of politicians is not the answer to region's problems.

May: Tony Blair tells the Chronicle he was initially a sceptic but now supports an assembly.

July: Ministers announce referendum on November 4 described by campaigners as a historic day for the North East. …

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