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Archbishop of York calls for English devolution, says people feel left behind by ‘metropolitan elites’ in London

The Most Rev Stephen Cottrell said that devolving power from Westminster would ‘empower the separate nations and regions’

Archbishop of York calls for English devolution, says people feel left behind by ‘metropolitan elites’ in London (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Archbishop of York calls for English devolution, says people feel left behind by ‘metropolitan elites’ in London (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

The Archbishop of York has called for further devolution in England, because people feel “left behind by metropolitan elites in London”.

Writing in the Telegraph, the Most Rev Stephen Cottrell said that people in England who want to be heard are “often disregarded… or patronised as being backwardly xenophobic”.

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At a glance: 5 key points

– In a letter to the Telegraph, the Archbishop hit out at “metropolitan elites” in London and the South East of England

– The Archbishop called for an “expansive vision of what it means to be English” and said that national unity is “more fractured than I have ever known in my lifetime”

– He called for the English regions to have their local government strengthened, with more powers devolved from Westminster to “empower the separate nations and regions to serve their own localities better”

– In a recent select committee hearing, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham called on the government to “fill in the map” on English devolution, and said that parliament “over-represents London”

– Boris Johnson said he will “take a more flexible approach to devolution in England” during a speech on ‘levelling up’ last month, however the government has also announced plans to scrap the ‘English votes for English laws’ rule in parliament

What’s been said?

Writing in the Telegraph, the Archbishop of York, Most Rev Stephen Cottrell, said:

“Many English people feel left behind by metropolitan elites in London and the South East, and by devolved governments and strengthened regional identities in Scotland and Wales. Their heartfelt cry to be heard is often disregarded, wilfully misunderstood or patronised as backwardly xenophobic.

“What we need is an expansive vision of what it means to be English as part of the UK. This will help us rediscover a national unity more fractured than I have ever known in my lifetime.

“A first foundation would be a more developed and strengthened regional government within England. Westminster would hold on to those big issues to do with our shared sovereignty, while empowering the separate nations and regions to serve their own localities better.