Campaigners want to ditch George Osborne’s city-region devolution plans and make England’s largest county the real Northern Powerhouse.
They hope to re-establish Yorkshire’s ancient boundaries and build a “White Rose Parliament” to give the region control over its own destiny.
The grassroots county-wide devolution movement brings hope to people on the fringes of "God's own country" who were “severed” from the county in unpopular local government reforms in 1974, such as members of the White Rose Society in Saddleworth, who have been fighting to keep their regional identity after being handed to Greater Manchester 40 years ago.
But their demands have put them at loggerheads with the Yorkshire cities of Leeds and Sheffield, which are pursuing devolution proposals of their own that could see them having to establish city mayors.
Yorkshire as an entity pre-dates Scotland and Wales. You can date it back to 626AD to King Edwin. We have 1,400 years of history and heritage, and we think devolution should be arranged on that basis.
- Nigel Sollitt, chairman of the Yorkshire Devolution Movement
The Liberal Democrats Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland brought an Early Day Motion last month calling on the Commons to recognise that people in all parts of Yorkshire identify with the traditional county. He also called on the Government to consider establishing a mayor for Yorkshire, rather than installing city mayors.
However, Northern Powerhouse minister James Wharton said yesterday that elected mayors in Yorkshire will be central to any devolved power deals.