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Last Updated: Friday, 5 November, 2004, 13:02 GMT
'No' vote hits SW assembly hopes
ballot box
The turnout for the North East vote was 47%
Hopes that the South West could have its own regional assembly have been dashed by the overwhelming "no" vote in the North East referendum.

The South West Constitutional Convention, which campaigns to raise awareness of the issues locally, are said to be depressed at the result.

However, Brian Thornton, Chairman of Exeter Chamber of Commerce said business leaders in the region fully supported the North East decision.

The assembly was rejected by 78% - 22%.

Cornish cause

The North East was seen as the region most amenable to the idea, with the South West always considered as being in a later round of voting because there had been no demonstration of any public appetite for a referendum.

Mr Thornton said what was wanted was not more talking shops but 'joined-up' government with positive decisions to invest in improved infrastructure, especially roads and railways.

The 'no' vote is seen as an opportunity by the Cornish Constitutional Convention which campaigns for Cornwall to have its own elected Assembly.

The Chairman, Bert Biscoe, says the result means Cornwall can press its case again.

Regional decisions

He believes the government will now have to reflect on how to improve democracy in the regions and says they will have to talk about identifiable areas which local people are comfortable with.

Mr Biscoe says he will be writing to the Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford to seek early talks about advancing Cornwall's case.

The Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has yet to decide whether other regions will have votes.


SEE ALSO:
A night when dreams died
05 Nov 04  |  Politics
North East votes 'no' to assembly
05 Nov 04  |  Politics


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