There will never be a better moment to refocus the way our nation works amid the most volatile period of change in living memory, the mayor of Greater Manchester has warned.
Speaking at The MJ’s Future Forum North event in Manchester today, Andy Burnham said devolution was the solution to the population’s disillusionment with Westminster, an institution he claimed ‘created Brexit’.
He argued this was the ‘century of the city region’, claiming devolution would lead to a ‘healthier political culture’.
In a barraging speech without notes, Mayor Burnham said: ‘I don’t think any of us can remember a period of such political volatility we are seeing now. This is the moment we are all living through.
‘Society is changing so fast now in terms of technology, demography and politics.
‘You can no longer legislate for the whole country. That idea is gone.
‘Devolution allows people to take control and develop their own story and [it] connects people to the political process at this level.
‘The over-centralised system where London dominates is the problem. It caused the problem and therefore it cannot be the answer.
‘Devolution is the best answer to it that I can see out there.
‘If we can prove the concept here we can strengthen this argument for devolution elsewhere and will begin to develop a healthier political culture in this country and take decisions closer to where people are.
‘I don’t think we will get a better moment than this to break this mould. It’s a chance to build something new at this level. That actually is an opportunity that we will never, ever get again.
You will be able to read more from Mayor Burnham's speech in next week's issue of The MJ