Stewart Arnold has urged Rotherham Council’s leader Chris Read to reconsider is opposition to a real devolution deal for Yorkshire.
In a letter to Labour’s Councillor Read, the Yorkshire Party leader challenged to him a debate if he thought the Yorkshire Party’s stance was wrong.
Stewart wrote: “I am writing to you to urge you to reconsider Rotherham Council’s apparent reluctance to join in the proposed ‘wider Yorkshire’ devolution deal.
“You will know that the case for a ‘One Yorkshire’ … has been well made by the 18 council leaders across Yorkshire. This position is supported by business organisations, the regional TUC and many others, including ourselves.
“What has been clear (as evidence by the local polls in Doncaster and Barnsley) last year is that, where asked, the people of Yorkshire support this as a preference too. Now we can add to this list the people of Rotherham.
“You won’t have failed to notice that in the poll for the Sheffield City Mayor on May 3rd, the three candidates who were unequivocally in favour of abandoning the Sheffield City Region and supporting One Yorkshire (Labour, Mick Bower of the Yorkshire Party and the Greens) got a majority of the votes cast. In fact, those three candidates got around two thirds of the vote; decisive by any measure.
“The Government asked the people of Yorkshire for a bottom-up approach when it came to a devolution settlement. The people have shown their preferred option in various ballots. We should now be taking the One Yorkshire option (including Rotherham) to James Brokenshire [Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary] and asking him to move on a deal as soon as possible.
“If you think we are wrong let’s debate it publicly. Now the lid has been lifted on this issue the people of Rotherham will be hugely interested in where we go from here, especially if their recently expressed and preferred option continues to be ignored.”
In its coverage of the story, The Yorkshire Post reported that while Labour’s Dan Jarvis was earlier this month elected Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, he had little power and no budget.
Stewart has already pledged the Party’s support for Mr Jarvis efforts to build a One Yorkshire devolution deal.
The Yorkshire Post said that while Sheffield and Rotherham favoured the Government’s 2015 devolution position, Doncaster and Barnsley wanted a region-wide solution.
The newspaper quoted Mr Read as saying: “The argument from the Yorkshire Party… and some others is a bit disingenuous.
“Dan Jarvis says a Yorkshire-wide deal is a great prize, I am still to be convinced it is a great prize, but at no stage have we said we will never agree to it.”