Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Conference Speech

One of today's key debates was on Localism and I had the priviliedge of being able to take the stand and talk of my opposition to the government's regionalisation with respect to Chester.

My speech was:

“Last week we had a demonstration of extreme hypocrisy. At Labour’s conference their delegates spoke out about democracy and local accountability, yet in practice they do the opposite as they continue to press on with the expansion of regional government.“

“The people in the North East resoundingly rejected Prescott’s regional plans, yet the people in Chester, the North West and other regions have been denied an opportunity to have our say. Instead, Prescott thought he knew best and gave us a Compulsory Regional Assembly Programme, C.R.A.P. for short.”

“In Chester we have a housing moratorium, not because we don’t need new homes, we do, but because unelected bureaucrats in the North West Regional Assembly, the North West Regional Development Agency, the Government Office North West and the Government Office Liverpool are promoting a Regional Spatial Strategy that says Chester is a second level priority area when compared to Manchester and Liverpool. This is nothing short of social engineering and is damaging to Chester’s future.”

“I believe that Chester, like every village, town and city across the country, is a first level priority and must be treated as such. We need to make sure that after the next general election we have a Conservative government so that we can abolish these quangos and restore true democracy and allow local decisions to be made by locally elected representatives who have local accountability.”

The Shadow Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, Oliver Heald MP said, “Paul undoubtedly gave the best contribution to the debate and spoke out about Chester with passion and pride. After the debate Paul gave me a detailed briefing about the effects of regionalisation to Chester and I assured him that a Conservative government will abolish regional assemblies and give the people of Chester the ability to decide their own affairs.”

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