Labour Members of Parliament have expressed alarm at the possibility – not
denied by the Prime Minister – that County Councils face abolition.
Michael Fabricant who took part in Prime Ministers Question Time yesterday
heard the following exchange (extracted from Hansard):-
Mr. David Clelland (Tyne Bridge): Will my right hon. Friend take this
opportunity to deny today’s story in Newcastle’s The Journal, which says
that he, or his office, has personally intervened in the drafting of the
forthcoming regional government White Paper to insist that it contain a
clause stating that regional government cannot go ahead without the
abolition of the county councils?
The Prime Minister: The regional government White Paper will be published in
due course and my hon. Friend will be able to see the proposals that are
"This curt dismissal by the Prime Minister of one of his own Labour MPs is
most unusual. I fear that if the Government presses ahead with the
creation of a regional Assembly in the West Midlands based in Birmingham,
we will see the abolition of local Government in Stafford and a remote and
expensive tier of Government established in Brum.", says Michael Fabricant.
"There is enough concern in the southern half of Staffordshire that roads
and other projects are neglected by the County. If these matters were
controlled from Birmingham and covering the whole region of many counties,
what funding will be made available for the Lichfield area?
"I will now be writing to Stephen Byers who is not only responsible for the
railways, but also has responsibility for local government. I hope he will
be able to shed some light on the future of our County structure. I now
invite Labour and Conservative County Councillors to write to the Secretary
of State and make their views known to him as a matter of urgency before it
is too late".