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I think that overall the case for further devolution, further strengthening of local government, further de-centralisation, has been powerfully made.

While I have myself a strong attraction to and preference for an accountable figure, whether you call that individual a mayor or not, serving a fixed term, providing visible and, as I say, clear, accountable leadership – while I have that preference – I recognise that it is not right for every part of the country, certainly not now.

And that by definition, if we are thinking about local government, we have to recognise that there will be different structures operating in different parts of the country to reflect different needs and different geographies. But one of the things that we do want to do is to make sure that at the time when we publish the White Paper, we’re clear that there are a number of County Deals that will take place, and that these should be beginning of a process, not the end.

Within it, as I say, there will be a framework, which I’m sure some people will criticise or object to, but there will be a framework that demonstrates our intention to progressively go further in the devolution of powers to local government.

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