Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Please Don't Give Us a 'Geordie Boris' Pleads MP

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Please Don't Give Us a 'Geordie Boris' Pleads MP

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Daniel Northumberland reporter

AVETERAN Northumberland MP has called for the creation of a regional assembly on the back of the Scottish independence vote, after claiming the North East does not want a "Geordie Boris."

Labour MP for Blyth Valley Ronnie Campbell has spoken in favour of an assembly, after claiming a mayoral figure like Boris Johnson might work for London, but not in our region.

He has called for the assembly after claiming the referendum has highlighted "vast inequalities" in how the North East is being governed and funded, and that businesses have chosen Scotland over our region due to "cash incentives."

A Conservative in the region has however dismissed the suggestion of an assembly, branding it "not the answer for the North East."

In a letter to party leader Ed Miliband on the day of the vote, the MP said: "The referendum debate has to my mind highlighted vast inequalities in the way that the North East of England is governed and funded.

"The contrast could not be clearer: Scotland is subsidised under the Barnett Formula to the tune of almost PS18bn a year; the North East, especially during almost five years of Tory-Lib Dem government, is squeezed of funding for essential services.

"Our public sector is being cut to the bone, while the Scottish every day have been offered bribes.

"Our NHS is suffering cuts, which mean that children with life-threatening heart conditions may have to travel to Leeds for operations.

"To make it even worse, we suffer the coalition's blitz on benefits, student fees, rising care costs for the elderly and the bedroom tax, all measure that the Scotland have largely escaped."

Mr Campbell calls on his Labour boss to commit the party, if it forms the next government, to revisiting the idea of a regional assembly, rejected by voters in the region at a referendum in 2004. …

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