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BLAIR OFFERS A CHOICE: COUNTIES OR REGIONS

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Voters are to be given the choice of setting up regional assemblies or keeping county councils. ...
Voters are to be given the choice of setting up regional assemblies or keeping county councils.

The delayed white paper on regional government, which is due to be published on Thursday, will give the go-ahead for referendums on devolution for the English regions.

Labour's general election manifesto promised a vote on regional assemblies in areas where there was 'predominantly' unitary local government, but said nothing about counties.

A well-placed source said: 'On county councils the white paper is clear - if there is an assembly there can only be regional and unitary local government.'

The straight choice between assemblies or counties was brought in at the behest of the prime minister.

Mr Blair fears a humiliation for Labour if the electorate rejects regional assemblies because they see them as bringing extra bureaucracy.

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