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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 June, 2003, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Voters 'against regional assembly'
David Davis
David Davis said the government should ditch the plans
The Conservatives have called for a rethink on regional assemblies after a BBC survey indicated overwhelming opposition to the idea in Yorkshire and the Humber.

In a telephone vote by 9,821 viewers of BBC Look North in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, 92.4% were against a directly elected body for the region.

Yorkshire and the Humber is one of three regions along with the North East and North West to be granted a referendum on the plans to be held in the autumn of 2004.

The decision was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Hull East MP John Prescott on Monday with the survey conducted later the same day.

Nine out of ten of the people who responded thought regional assemblies were a bad idea
David Davis MP

But in the House of Commons on Wednesday Mr Prescott's Tory counterpart David Davis ridiculed the assertion that there is "overwhelming" interest in the idea.

The MP for Haltemprice and Howden referred to the Look North survey results and said: "Nine out of ten of the people who responded thought regional assemblies were a bad idea.

"So why do you still insist on spending millions of pounds of public money and disrupting perfectly good local government to pursue your own obsession with this daft idea?"

Mr Prescott responded: "The same BBC carried out a poll which said 72% actually wanted a referendum.

"I am prepared to accept that. There will be a referendum and by God I look forward to the debate with you."

The government has said the assemblies could be up and running within the next four years.

Although their powers have not yet been fixed, they are likely to include housing, transport, regeneration and tourism.

Vote set for Yorkshire assembly
16 Jun 03  |  North Yorkshire
Decision due on referendum
18 May 03  |  North Yorkshire


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