The Wakefield branch of Yorkshire First has agreed a joint letter with the Wakefield Liberal Democrats and Wakefield Green Party, calling for more public involvement in the devolution debate. We're delighted that our Wakefield branch was able to work with other parties in the spirit of pluralism and cross-party cooperation.
The letter reads as follows:
We write to you from three different political backgrounds: Green, Liberal Democrat and Yorkshire First. However, the ongoing debate about devolution has prompted us to put to one side our political differences and jointly write this letter.
Collectively we are growing increasingly concerned about the lack of public engagement in the devolution negotiations currently being held between the UK Government and Yorkshire Council Leaders, including Cllr Peter Box.
We believe that key decisions about our future should not be made because of partisan political considerations – devolution is an issue that could fundamentally change Britain, and it is one that needs proper consideration by the public. This letter requests two things:
A) Negotiators should cease holding devolution discussions behind closed doors and instead involve the public in key debates about our future
B) There should be a commitment to holding a referendum on the outcome of these discussions, so the public are given the final say
Only last month Durham Council announced that it would be giving people a say and holding a referendum on the devolution proposals – so we believe there is no excuse not to do the same in Yorkshire.
Devolution is a good thing that could improve Wakefield, Yorkshire and the UK. However to succeed, devolution has to be discussed and agreed by people across society, not just a handful of Council Leaders and UK Government representatives.
We all have a chance to be involved in building a long-lasting devolution deal, but we must not let this chance slip through our fingers.
Brian Else - Chairman, Wakefield Green Party
David Arthur - Chairman, Wakefield Liberal Democrats
Martin Roberts - Chairman, Wakefield Yorkshire First