Devolve powers to East, says Sir Bob

Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell has said that further plans to devolve the powers of central government should include the counties of the East of England which he described as an “economic powerhouse”.

Sir Bob told the House of Commons that Essex had a population more than double that of Cornwall which is to have devolved powers, and more people lived in the six counties of Eastern England than in Wales which has had devolution for more than a decade.

He was speaking in questions to Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg about devolution.

Afterwards Liberal Democrat Sir Bob said he was not talking about devolving powers to the current local government structure. “I would abolish Essex County Council and replace it with a regional body having the same powers as the Welsh Government has, and for local councils such as Colchester Borough to have transferred to them the local government issues more appropriately dealt with locally including highways.”

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