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Blair concession on North Yorkshire unitary bid gives hope for Cumbria

June 13, 2007 12:00 AM

The Prime Minister, Tony Blair gave hope to the campaign to oppose the bid to form a unitary authority for the whole of Cumbria during Prime Minister's Question Time today. In a response to a question from fellow Liberal Democrat Phil Willis, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough about the proposals to create a unitary authority in North Yorkshire, the PM conceded that the fact that all the North Yorkshire MPs were opposed to the bid was 'very powerful'.

In recent weeks it has become clear that the cross-party group of Cumbrian MPs is similarly opposed to the bid to create a unitary authority from seven local authorities with an administrative headquarters in Carlisle.

During PMQs, the Prime Minister said:

"The fact that all 7 North Yorkshire MPs oppose the bid is very powerful. The final decision is yet to be taken, all the proposals will be looked at carefully. It will not go forward unless it is affordable, empowers local communities and has a broad cross section of support."

Responding, Tim Farron said:

"The revelation that the Prime Minister sees a cross section of support as necessary for the proposals for a unitary authority to go ahead adds weight to our campaign against the plans to make local government in Cumbria more distant. There is real opposition to the bid to centralise our local government, and not just from the MPs in the area but from the general population as well."