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Last Updated: Friday, 5 November, 2004, 13:06 GMT
MP's call to scrap assembly vote
John Prescott
John Prescott is right about the need for change says Mr Howarth
A Labour MP has urged the government to scrap its planned referendum for a North West regional assembly.

George Howarth said the North East referendum's 'No' vote showed voters had no appetite for assemblies based on areas with which they do not identify.

He said the result meant a fresh debate could be held about local government for regions based on cities such as Liverpool or Manchester.

But the Yes For North West campaign says the vote must take place.

The call to scrap the referendum was echoed by the North West Says No campaign.

'Dead parrot'

"I think it's a dead parrot, it's not squawking and its on the floor of its cage, " said spokesman Brian Morris.

Felicity Goodey, chair of Yes for the North West said the "No" campaigners had fed on people's fear of change and distrust of politicians.

She said: "We want a proper debate about the pros and cons of an elected assembly with the government making clear the very real powers which the region would get, and then we want a referendum as we were promised."

Mr Howarth, the MP for Knowsley North, in Merseyside, said: "I believe this result now opens up space for a fresh debate about city regions which correspond with how people in urban conurbations like Merseyside and Manchester identify themselves culturally, politically and in economic terms."

"However, John Prescott's central proposition remains valid that there is a democratic deficit between town halls and Whitehall."

In July, five Merseyside MPs launched a Manifesto for Merseyside which proposed a Merseyside Assembly based on the London Assembly.

North East votes 'no' to assembly
05 Nov 04  |  Politics
North West: Assembly vote
04 Nov 04  |  Politics Show
Q&A: Regional Assemblies
25 May 04  |  Business

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