A regionalist political party has been launched in Yorkshire with a view to contesting the European Parliament elections in May.
Yorkshire First, styled as “the party for Yorkshire”, is campaigning first and foremost for ‘home rule’ – the establishment of a devolved Yorkshire Parliament to give the region a greater say over its future.
It is otherwise described as a “pragmatic” centrist party with “progressive views on economic, social and environmental issues”, with the top goal of building “a self-assured and outward-looking Yorkshire where the decisions affecting Yorkshire people are taken locally”.
It rejects, however, the prospect of Yorkshire independence, saying it wants “a stronger Yorkshire within the UK”.
Its founder, Richard Carter, told journalists: “Barely a day goes by without reports of how Yorkshire is being held back by the dead hand of Westminster and Whitehall. Whether it is the ongoing north-south divide, the lopsided economic recovery, HS2, the lack of spending on transport infrastructure or unspent EU money, Yorkshire is suffering from neglect by London.
“It would appear that Yorkshire is also being taken for granted by the national parties. They have failed us and are responsible for the current situation.
“Yorkshire has a population the same as Scotland and an economy twice the size of Wales but the powers of neither. Something has to change.”
Carter, who was born in Holmfirth and raised in Meltham, said he was inspired by living abroad and experiencing different styles of government, lamenting that “with the same population as Norway, Yorkshire could – and should – do better, but does not have the powers to act”.
According to Carter, his party already has “support from across the political spectrum” and will look to field a list of candidates for the European Parliament elections, which take place in the UK on 22 May.
Yorkshire and the Humber elects six MEPs.