Paul Salveson, a well-known Labour and community activist in the Colne Valley, Yorkshire, has left the Labour Party and announced his support for Yorkshire First – the pro Yorkshire parliament party.
Commenting on his decision, Paul Salveson said:
“The Labour Party leadership has become more and more distant from its radical roots. Support for continued austerity and an unwillingness to embrace regional devolution have combined to make me decide it is time to leave. Yorkshire First is a new party committed not only to regional devolution, but to social justice and a re-balanced Britain within a more democratic Europe.”
Yorkshire First is led by Holmfirth’s Richard Carter. The party was launched just before the European elections and scored a creditable 20,000 votes.
Richard Carter said:
“I’m delighted to welcome Paul to Yorkshire First. His support over the years for bringing power away from London closer to communities in the North has been second to none. Yorkshire First is a party committed to moving Yorkshire to a region with first rate devolution similar to the Welsh or Scots model. A region that works for all who choose to make Yorkshire home and whose people decide their own priorities”.
“Paul is just one amongst hundreds of people who are supporting us from a wide range of backgrounds, drawn by our positive attitude and belief that change is critical to build a Britain fit for the 21st century.”
Paul is general secretary of the Hannah Mitchell Foundation, formed nearly three years ago to campaign for Northern devolution.
“Regional government is a means to an end, said Paul. “It’s about building the foundations for a thriving, socially just and politically engaged society. I want to see some of the enthusiasm for change I witnessed last week in Scotland here in Yorkshire and across the North.
“Devolution is firmly on the political agenda and it’s important that there is an open and inclusive debate, not deals done behind closed doors by the political establishment. Instead of unelected and unaccountable ‘combined authorities’ favoured by Labour and the Tories, Yorkshire First is committed to directly-elected regional assemblies elected by fair votes. No more domination by one party or another in certain areas.”
Paul, who had been a Labour councillor on Kirklees MBC until last year, acknowledged that it wasn’t an easy decision to make.
“I have great respect for many friends and colleagues who are committed to Labour. Many of them share my criticisms of the leadership but elected to stay in and fight. I wish them well. But with the emergence of right-wing parties like UKIP it is time for a strong progressive voice which is committed to radical change and isn’t tied to any vested interests. For the many disillusioned people who have supported mainstream parties in the past, Yorkshire First is now a real alternative offering a positive and outward looking vision of our future.”