Sunderland MPs fighting to have city’s voice heard

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SUNDERLAND’S MPs will attend regular meetings with the UK’s Cities Minister in a desperate bid to get the voice of Wearside represented in Government.

Despite there being 29 MPs in the North East, there are no cabinet ministers, no shadow cabinet ministers and no regional ministers.

In what’s thought to be a first, the region’s MPs will attend meetings every six to eight weeks with the Cities Minister Greg Clark, in lieu of the area having no other representation in Government.

The role of Regional Minister for the North East was abolished under the Coalition Government and since then Sunderland and the North East has struggled for representation.

This week several Labour MPs, including Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson, met with Mr Clark to discuss holding the meetings, which he is said to have agreed to.

The invitation will also be open to the Tory MPs in Hexham and Stockton South, as well as the Lib Dems in Redcar and Berwick.

It’s thought the primary focus of the meetings will be the economy of the North East.

The move comes in the same week that Sunderland and the North East missed out on a slice of £100million funding for the area’s low-carbon enterprise zone.

Ms Phillipson said: “The previous Government had a minister in Parliament to champion the North East.

“However, the current Government scrapped the post of regional minister in 2010.

“We continue to see the region getting a raw deal from the current Government. This is despite the fact we’re the only region in England running a trade surplus and the region has proven time and again that with the right support we can deliver.

“I will be making the case that by working with the Government we can tackle problems such as youth unemployment, which continues to blight our area.”