East Anglia given devolution ultimatum

Government minister James Wharton has told East Anglia officials they can take or leave the devolution deal that was singed before the budget.

The news comes after critics complained that the three counties, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk had been lumped together. Namely, Emma Lewell-Buck, shadow local government minister, accused the government of taking a ‘heavy-handed, top-down dictatorial approach’.

Stewart Jackson, Conservative MP for Peterborough, said: “Unless we count Boadicea and Hereward the Wake, no one has ever decided it would be a good idea to have an overarching governance structure for the whole of these three counties in East Anglia.”

However, Wharton defended the details of the deal, claiming it was ‘not the intention of the government to reopen discussions of geography’.

Wharton made the comment in a Westminster Hall debate, where he warned that government would move its attention elsewhere if East Anglia decided to step back from the deal it had signed.