Bristol, Leicester, Nottingham, Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent, Hull, Derby, Southampton and Portsmouth have been unable to give their communities a full range of services since their powers were stripped away 20 years ago.
Yet 11 of the London boroughs and three English metropolitan boroughs with smaller populations have full control over all community services.
The review of local government in shire England gives the opportunity for the lost rights to be restored by removing the remote and expensive second tier of local government and making each of the cities an all-purpose, unitary authority, they say.
Cllr Higgins told them that the campaign has been fought ceaselessly since 1974 and is supported by all the party political groups within the major cities.
In population, she says, the largest major city, Bristol, would rank eighth in the list of metropolitan boroughs and first in the list of London boroughs. Leicester has a bigger population than any London borough.