I met with Chronicle / Journal journalists this week and discussed my sadness that the 4 local authorities south of the Tyne have backed out of a devolution deal that would have given them power over everything from transport, to skills, to business development and more ability to grow jobs and growth in their area.
This is not a Labour / Conservative thing: why? Because the labour led authorities in Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Teesside, and 3 the labour led local authorities north of the Tyne have all pressed ahead with devolution, power, money and growth. They have embraced devolution. I wish the 4 local authorities south of the Tyne had not decided to walk away. But it is their decision. If I was partisan for Northumberland only, as a local MP, I would see this as an opportunity for residents North of the Tyne to get an advantage over those who live and work south of the Tyne.
I am certain this will happen in any event.
But it is a matter of sorrow that we cannot work together for the greater good.
But be under no illusion - this is very good news for Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside.
My interview is here: