Nick Clegg: Northern cities should be freed from the 'stifling grip of Whitehall'

In an interview with the Guardian in Stockport on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg explained why Greater Manchester and other strong city regions should not be forced to have their own Boris Johnson-style mayor in return for more powers.

After the Scottish referendum, Nick explained the urgency needed to free Greater Manchester and other Northern cities from the 'stifling grip of Whitehall and Westminster', saying that introducing Boris Johnsons was not the answer. 

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In his interview, Nick said:

"I don’t think we should allow Whitehall to do what Whitehall has always done in the past, which is to basically turn decentralisation into an exercise of hoop setting for local areas.

"I want to flip it round. What I ideally want is for us to enshrine – both in culture and possibly in law – a standing right for local areas to assume more powers from Whitehall. Powers which can only be refused by Whitehall if there was a very good reason for doing so.”

During his visit to Stockport, Nick Clegg chaired his first meeting outside of Whitehall to discuss local growth, attended by ministers including Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and Secretary of Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey.


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