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Date announced for Convention of the North


A Convention of the North is to be established this summer as leaders seek to create a powerful new voice for the north.

On September 6 Newcastle will host the first official meeting of the Convention of the North in which political and business leaders will join representatives from unions, community groups and other organisations to discuss the issues and opportunities ahead.

Council leaders and elected mayors met in Newcastle on the opening weekend of the Great Exhibition of the North to set out details of this summer’s Convention.

The Convention offers the first chance for a united North to speak to government with a strong voice, a crucial step in preparing for the impact of Brexit.

The leaders’ decision to form the convention comes after the difficulties on northern rail services reinforced the need to revive the devolution agenda.

Delegates gathering for the Convention in September will have their say on the transport needs of the north, how their voice should be heard in Brexit discussions, the education and skills agenda and unite behind a cross-northern demand for greater devolution.

Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: “The meeting was a very important first step to enable the North to work as one in putting forward our common vision and priorities to Westminster. The Convention of the North will give business, civic leaders and partners a powerful voice to engage with this and future Governments on key issues for communities across the North, such as transport, skills, devolution and Brexit.”

Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes, said: “We want to bring together a Convention of the North that can champion and challenge, promoting all that is best about the north while ensuring government works with us on creating a stronger more prosperous UK.

“This Convention will see representatives from across the north get involved in creating a vision for the north, and we’ll be setting out more details shortly.”

The Convention is not intended to be a new statutory body but will meet regularly and speak for the North on important national and regional issues.

The first Convention for the North will be held in Newcastle on September 6. Further details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Those attending Saturday’s convention planning event include:

Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council; Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and chair of Core Cities group; Peter Box, chair of Key Cities group; Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority; Peter Jackson, Leader of Northumberland County Council; Sue Jeffrey, Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council; Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council; Shabir Pandor, leader of Kirklees Council; Samantha Dixon, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council; Bruce Pickard, North Tyneside Council; Sue Murphy, Manchester City Council; Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Metro-Mayor; Dan Jarvis, Mayor Sheffield City Region; and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.