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September 19, 2014

Northern regionals share front page call for ‘sensible devolution’ from Westminster

By William Turvill

Northern regional newspapers have joined forces to issue a call to the three main political party leaders asking for "sensible devolution".

The Newcastle Journal, Newcastle Chronicle, Northern Echo, the Gazette, Yorkshire Post and Manchester Evening News will be among the titles to carry the same front page message today.

The joint call for the party leaders to "make sure the North isn't left behind" comes after the political parties all agreed to strengthened powers for Scotland in the run-up to the referendum.

The Daily Record in Scotland featured a front page (below, right) this week with a vow signed by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband promising "extensive" new powers to Scottish parliament.

The northern English front pages today say:

This is an historic time for the North.

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The United Kingdom is changing. And we have to make sure the North isn’t left behind.

That’s why newspapers from the North East, North West and Yorkshire have taken the unprecedented step of joining forces to demand a fair deal for the region – including the power and funding needed to manage our own affairs.

Our region faces the risk of being squeezed between an over mighty London in the south and a resurgent Scotland making the most of its newfound freedoms to the north.

But this is also a time of enormous opportunity for the North of England. Let us off the leash and we will create wealth and jobs, and help the UK succeed in today’s challenging world.

Sensible devolution to regions such as ours, and perhaps ensuring we have a fair hearing at Westminster too, will also help to reassure English voters that they are getting a fair deal after so many promises were made to Scotland during the referendum campaign.

Newspapers joining the call include The Journal, The Chronicle, Northern Echo, The Gazette, Manchester Evening News and The Yorkshire Post.

Journal Editor Brian Aitken said: “The unprecedented coming together of the great Northern newspaper brands should send a clear message to our politicians that it is vital they make sure the North does not suffer from having an economic powerhouse to the south and a far more competitive Scotland to the north.”

Peter Barron, editor of the Northern Echo, said: “The guarantee of additional powers for Scotland – irrespective of the referendum result – presents particular challenges for the north of England. The Northern Echo is happy to be joining forces with other major regional newspapers to call on party leaders to ensure the north of England is not overshadowed or neglected.”

Jeremy Clifford, editor of The Yorkshire Post, said: “The debate over the referendum in Scotland has opened up a much wider call for increased powers for the regions.

“We are joining with newspaper titles across the north to ensure this vitally important part of England does not lose out in the aftermath of the Scotland decision.”

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