Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, has warned that the government risks “splintering” the country if it does not devolve further powers to the regions in the wake of the vote for Brexit.
Addressing the IPPR North’s Brexit summit in Leeds, he urged central government to try to understand the reasons behind the Brexit vote, which reflected a “crisis of confidence” in the political system, and the alienation of large numbers of people.
Whilst stressing his pro-European position, he argued that politicians could not carry on with business as normal in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union.
Speaking at Leeds Civic Hall yesterday, Steve Rotheram said:
“If we continue as we are, then we will not just face economic uncertainty and disruption, we will also risk a further splintering in the country between those who feel that they have a stake in the future, and those who feel that they continue to be ignored. Westminster elites and Whitehall mandarins are every bit as much to blame for people’s sense of alienation as Brussels bureaucrats, but devolution at least offers us locally the chance to do things differently.
“Devolving real power to communities across the country represents the best hope of restoring people’s confidence in the political system. It is not a panacea in itself but it could go a long way in helping to heal the rifts that divide our society. If for no other reason than that, the government should grasp the opportunities and work with us to bring true democracy and accountability to our regions. “
The Brexit North Summit was organised by the IPPR North and brought academics, business and political leaders together to discuss the potential impact of Brexit on the North of England.