Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

'Why I Back Introduction of Mayors' CAMERON EXPLAINS COMBINED AUTHORITY REASONING

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

'Why I Back Introduction of Mayors' CAMERON EXPLAINS COMBINED AUTHORITY REASONING

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN WALKER Political Editor jon.walker@trinitymirror.com @jonwalker121

PRIME Minister David Cameron has insisted the Government will not force regions such as the North East to create a controversial combined authority.

He said the Government was willing to listen to different ideas, and insisted: "This is devolution by consent."

But he confirmed his backing for the creation of a directly-elected mayor - saying voters needed someone they could hold accountable.

The Prime Minister was speaking about the Government's devolution policy which involves the creation of combined authorities led by regional mayors across the country. They include a proposed authority and mayor in the North East. Council leaders are due to meet tomorrow to decide whether to press ahead with the plans.

Councils including County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland had been expected to agree plans for a new regional Combined Authority, to be led by a mayor, back in March.

But the proposals were thrown into doubt when Gateshead pulled out, while South Tyneside and Durham councils said more talks with the Government were needed. …

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