UKIP founder fears plan for devolution in England would ‘create more Drakefords’
The founder of UKIP has said that any plans to devolve more powers across England would simply create “more Drakefords”.
A white paper by ‘Levelling up’ minister Michael Gove is expected to roll out a plan for a network of devolved governors and mayors across the English regions.
Professor Alan Sked, who founded the UK Independence Party in 1993, said that the “pettiness and stupidity of the devolved governments – and particularly the Welsh one – raises profound anxiety that Michael Gove is about to make this bad situation even worse”.
Referring to Michael Gove’s plans, he said that “rumor has it that he will define ‘levelling up’ with the introduction of a Bill to establish elected mayoralties and ‘governorships’ throughout England. This, I fear, would mean levelling down”.
“The last thing this country needs is more Sturgeons, Drakefords, Burnhams and Khans,” he wrote on the Telegraph’s letters page. “There is no popular pressure for further devolution, and previous polls have mostly rejected the idea. We should be abolishing police and crime commissioners instead.
“I hope the rumour is wrong. Otherwise, God help the Tories.”
Some measure of devolution has already been rolled out for regions in England, including London, Manchester and Liverpool which have their own directly elected mayors. Other regions of England such as Bristol, Tees Valey, West Midlands and Sheffield have also been given some devolved powers.
In November, Michael Gove gave a speech in which he proposed devolving power to a ore local level in England.
“We want local leadership to create real change,” he said. “We will improve living standards especially in places where they are low.
“We will make public services better, particularly in areas where they are less efficient. And we will provide the necessary resources to increase the pride that they have in their home.”
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