Sunday, February 07, 2010

North East’s voice needs to be stronger for local business

A LEADING Liberal Democrat Councillor in Gateshead has called for the North East to have a stronger voice in London to get a better deal for the region and for business.

Dr Jonathan Wallace made his comments to a meeting of the Confederation of British Industry which was holding a meeting for young business people from the North East in the Baltic Art Galley on the Gateshead Quays.

Dr Wallace, Councillor for Whickham South and Sunniside, said it was easy for the North East to be overlooked when major transport investment is decided.

“The problem with our region is that it has too many safe Labour seats,” said Jonathan. “Even in a bad year for Labour, they will win most seats here.

“At the last election in the region, Labour took 28 of the 30 seats in the North East. That effectively means that in Parliamentary representation, our region has been something of a one party state, even though Labour does not command an overwhelming majority of votes.

“Labour can therefore take the region for granted. The Conservatives have only very limited interest in the region because their chances of winning more than a small number of seats here is remote.

“The Labour one party state in the North East has therefore served us badly and both Labour and Conservative governments pay more attention to other regions with more marginal seats.

“We need to turn the safe seats into marginals. That’s why voting reform and fair votes will benefit our area of the country far more than any other. It will put us back on the political map.

“And we need reforms to the House of Lords so that members are elected under a fair votes system and can speak for the whole region.

“This package of change and reform will make politics more relevant to the people of our region and make governments of all colours take note of the North East.”

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