Sajjad and Baroness Williams join Cumbria Conservative Councillors Devo debate

Sajjad recently joined the Cumbria County Council Conservative Group for their annual Away Day.

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He was delighted to be asked to attend for the 3rd year by Group Leader, Councillor James Airey and as well as an opportunity to catch up with colleagues informally there were some important issues on the agenda.

Saj joined Baroness Susan Williams, Minister in the Department for Communities and Local Government, along with John Stevenson MP and Lord Inglewood and Lord Cavendish for a panel discussion on Devolution and the proposed Cumbria deal.

Following the Northern Powerhouse devolution package announced last year by the Chancellor, there is an opportunity for Cumbria to look towards greater local accountability with their own Devo Deal.

Views were expressed on probable changes to the local government structure that could come with devolution with the possible option of one or two Unitary Authorities. Members were supportive of progressing further discussions with the Government.

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Saj also updated colleagues on his activities in the European Parliament, the forthcoming Referendum and the current refugee crisis.

Saj said he is doing whatever he possibly can to help deliver the sort of reforms the PM is looking for. "We are not just starting out on this exercise, over the past 18 months we have already put in place a whole series of actions that are coming into play. For instance, we are wanting to give more powers to national governments to have their say in our decision making. It's clearly frustrating for national governments to only see proposed legislation we are putting forward to the Commission when it's too late to do anything about it. This has to change"

"We are going through a crucial period in the run up to the Referendum and it is vital that all Conservative politicians - parliamentarians and elected councillors at every level - pull together so that whilst our Prime Minister is undertaking these negotiations, we are all behind him, whatever our individual decision on how we vote ultimately is".

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