Jeremy Middleton, North East LEP Board Member and Mayoral Candidate

Jeremy Middleton CBE, North East LEP Board Member and Mayoral Candidate, has condemned a plot by Labour MPs and Trade Union Leaders to derail the North East Devolution Deal, calling them “devo-saboteurs” and telling them that the region is not a political football.

The devolution deal, agreed by Labour council leaders late last year, which promises to bring £30 million a year of extra investment funding, devolved powers, and an elected mayor to the North East, is now under threat following a letter organised by Blaydon MP and Opposition Whip Dave Anderson. Mr Anderson was appointed as an Opposition Whip earlier this year by leader Jeremy Corbyn, tasked with enforcing his party’s line on fellow MPs.

The letter, which cites support from regional MPs and Trade Unionists, calls on council leaders to reject or delay ratifying the deal, in an attempt to convince their colleagues to do the same.

Jeremy Middleton said: “Labour has a cohort of devo-saboteurs who are trying to subvert democracy and undermine council leaders in their own party, all of whom agreed the Devolution Deal was in the best interests of the region when they signed it last year. The proposal for a Mayor was in the Conservative Manifesto, the Conservatives won the election outright and to suggest they do not have a mandate for this change is wrong.

“The North East is our home, not a political football to be kicked around between different factions of the Labour Party. Newcastle City Council has already agreed to the deal, and County Durham has come out in favour of it. These maverick MPs need to stop playing politics and see the deal for what it is, a real opportunity for the North East.

"We can’t let the best opportunity our region has had in a generation be sabotaged like this. Dave Anderson has campaigned for devolution and praised Scottish devolution in parliament, yet now he chooses to ignore the need for it in the North East. He should put his community above the agenda of Jeremy Corbyn."



CONTACT: Chris Rowell on 01325 363436

Notes to Editors:

Jeremy Middleton

Mr Middleton is a self-made businessman and philanthropist based in the North East. He has been a Board Member of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) since 2011 and is Chairman of the North East LEP Investment Fund, which makes recommendations to the LEP Board for the £25m Growing Places Fund and the £30m Infrastructure Fund.

Mr Middleton has carried out a range of sponsored fundraising for a variety of charities which to date include the North Pole, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mont Blanc, The Haute Route, Mount McKinley, Mount Elbrus and a cycle ride from London to Paris.

In 2012 Jeremy was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for Services to Politics and Charities.

Dave Anderson Comment on devolution in Parliament, 26/04/06.

“I certainly agree with my hon. Friend and I wish that the people of the north-east had been given a chance similar to that which Scotland has enjoyed and that has been on offer to our friends from Northern Ireland today. Had we be given such a deal, we might have voted for it.”

Dave Anderson Comment on devolution,, 16/09/14

“I was also proud to play my part in the trade union campaigns for devolution across the UK with positive messages and with resources being made available to influence the decisions on the ground”


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Jeremy Middleton, North East LEP Board Member and Mayoral Candidate
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