Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Confidence Still High over Devolution Deal

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Confidence Still High over Devolution Deal

Article excerpt

Byline: DANIEL HOLLAND AND SEAN SEDDON Reporters

THE North of Tyne devolution deal will not be approved on schedule - but leaders remain confident there will still be mayoral elections next May.

It is expected - but not confirmed - that the Government will lay legislation for the PS600m devolution deal before Parliament this week, but MPs will not have a vote on the creation of the new mayoral authority until September at the earliest.

In the North East yesterday, Prime Minister Theresa May said the deal would be formally signed off by Westminster "as soon as our Parliamentary timetable allows us to".

Newcastle, Northumberland and North Tyneside agreed the landmark deal in November 2017 to set up an authority with a raft of powers.

Parliament was expected to have given its consent for the new authority to be set up by now, but a packed schedule of Brexit debates has pushed the North of Tyne devolution further and further down the agenda.

According to the timetable published on the North of Tyne devolution website, summer of 2018 should have been the time when the new authority was set up and an interim mayor appointed. But while the devolution papers should be delivered to Parliament today - the last day before the summer recess - it could be several months before MPs actually vote on the issue.

That has sparked fears the authority might not be set up in time for the scheduled May 2019 mayoral election.

The North of Tyne leaders are now hopeful that the devolution deal will be debated and approved in Parliament before November in order for a May 2019 election to go ahead.

Asked if Parliament would be able to pass the necessary legislation before the summer recess, Mrs May said: "Well it won't be, Parliament goes into recess tomorrow, so it's not tabled for the next two days but we will bring it forward as soon as our parliamentary timetable allows us to. …

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