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Yorkshire Wants to Go It Alone in the UK

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Yorkshiremen are not slow to proclaim that their county is the best in all the land; after all, it's God's Own Country, right?

But they may well have a point. Harrogate was recently proclaimed the happiest place to live in Britain, the North has been confirmed as being smarter than the South and England's recent Ashes success was due in no small part to the number one batsman in the world: Sheffield-born, Yorkshire county cricketer Joe Root.

And now, clearly aware of their own superiority to the rest of the UK, plans are afoot for the county to go it alone. Campaigners want to re-establish Yorkshire's ancient boundaries, reunify the three ridings, and create their own "White Rose Parliament" to rule over all matters in the White Rose county.

Nigel Sollitt, chairman of the Yorkshire Devolution Movement, stated that, "Yorkshire as an entity pre-dates Scotland and Wales. You can date it back to 626AD to King Edwin. We have 1,400 years of history and heritage, and we think devolution should be arranged on that basis."

The old county was split up in 1974 after unpopular local government reforms. Most of the county now falls under Yorkshire and the Humber - one of the nine Regions of England, while the extreme northern part falls under North East England. Meanwhile, areas in the west of the county became part of North West England - a particularly bitter pill for residents to swallow, given their long rivalry with Lancashire. Saddleworth in the Pennines, in particular, has long harboured hopes of returning to Yorkshire after being given to Greater Manchester in the reforms.

Now Leeds North West MP Greg Milholland has tabled an Early Day Motion to recognise that people in all parts of Yorkshire identify with the traditional boundaries and called for the Government to establish a mayor for Yorkshire, rather than the separate city mayors current proposed by George Osborne under his 'Northern Powerhouse' plan, which has already seen Greater Manchester given extra powers via a single elected mayor.

The Yorkshire plan is up against other campaigners who want the likes of Sheffield and Leeds to each have their own mayor.

Minister James Wharton, in charge of implementing reforms, said, “We are going to look at everything that comes in. We want to work with local areas to find agreement, to find geography, a package of powers, to find a solution that works for the people who know Yorkshire best, who know York best, Leeds best, rural North Yorkshire best. We want to talk to local leadership, both political and business to get the right solution.”

So, the big question, if Yorkshire does get its own mayor, who should it be?

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