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LABOUR SUPPORTS NORTH ASSEMBLY WHILE GUMMER BACKS COUNCIL SPLIT

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Labour has renewed its commitment to a regional assembly for the North and a regional manifesto has been unveiled b...
Labour has renewed its commitment to a regional assembly for the North and a regional manifesto has been unveiled by shadow education and employment secretary David Blunkett, reported the Northern Echo (26 April, p4).

The move comes on top of environment secretary John Gummer's statement of support for a plan to split North Tyneside with a separate council for the coastal wards of North Shields, Monkseaton, Tynemouth and Whitely Bay.

In the Newcastle Journal (24 April, p6) Mr Gummer said a North assembly would be artificial and have no sense of identity. Under Labour, England would break into regions and 'impose an unelected chamber on each packed with their trade union friends and peers', he said.

North Tyneside MBC discriminated against the coastal areas in favour of wards to the west of the borough which got a larger share of education resources, Mr Gummer said.

Labour's regional manifesto does not mention the regional assembly, but Mr Blunkett said the party was committed to the move, provided it got local support.
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