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Wednesday, March 17, 1999 Published at 10:22 GMT

UK Politics

Yorkshire bid for home rule

Symbol of Yorkshire: The beautiful Dales

A campaign is getting under way to give Yorkshire its own parliament.

Richard Wells reports: "Campaigners want devolved powers"
With the imminent arrival of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, campaigners in Yorkshire say they do not want to be left behind in the quest for European money and new jobs.

They say the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Development Agency and other organisations will only succeed if there is a democratic and accountable parliament.

[ image: Dogged self-determination: The terrier]
Dogged self-determination: The terrier
Yorkshire folk have always had an uncompromising loyalty to the place of their birth that gave the world a popular pudding and lent its name to a type of terrier dog.

In the 1970s the Conservative government hived off part of Yorkshire to become Humberside, a 20-year campaign started, resulting in Humberside's return to the fold.

Strong partnerships

Devolution is seen by some as the next step forward.

BBC North of England Correspondent Richard Wells said: "The campaign is unlikely to find support from the government, but that won't deter those behind it."

Campaigners for a Yorkshire parliament are expected to announce on Wednesday that they are prepared to invest £25,000 a year to pay someone full time to promote the cause.

Popular identity

Diana Scott: "We have a strong popular identity in Yorkshire"
Diana Scott from the campaign, said: "We already have strong existing regional partnerships in Yorkshire with universities, community associations and church associations.

"We were also the first region to establish a regional chamber in 1998 which consists of 22 local authorities and 12 partner organisations.

The BBC's Richard Wells: "Devolution is seen as the next step forward"
"We believe Yorkshire has a special, distinct characteristic, a strong popular identity and we have already started working at regional level."

She said that the campaign aimed to have a parliament within two or three years.

"We will have ensure that we persuade the government to bring forward legislation for a regional government at the earliest opportunity. I don't think it would be in this parliament, but we want it sooner rather than later."

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