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Hansard 14 Jan: Column 446 ...
Hansard 14 Jan: Column 446

The leader of the house, Margaret Beckett, told MPs yesterday she would soon be bringing forward proposals to establish a commons committee to discuss issues affecting the English regions.

The matter was raised during Business Questions by Jim Cousins, Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central, who said that twice last year he had asked Mrs Beckett's predecessor [Ann Taylor] to recall the standing committee of regional affairs.

Mr Cousins added: '..although it has not met since 1978, could be recalled tomorrow. At its first meeting it could discuss the economic opportunities facing north-east England'.

Mrs Beckett replied: 'We are very keen to recognise the need to take account of the regional dimension in England. We are conscious of the view held by many honourable members that the interests of the English regions have to some extent been overlooked in recent years.

'I intend, I hope in the very near future, to put some proposals before the modernisation committee on the use of procedures of the House that allow for a standing committee on the English regions'.

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