Michael Gove blasts Labour attempts to exploit Tory divisions on levelling up Britain | Politics | News

Michael Gove has hit out at the Labour Party’s attempts to exploit Tory divisions.

Sir Keir Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner have praised former Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his “good” plans to level up Britain.

The pair said his Government “talked a good game about how Britain needed to build up all parts of the country”.

But Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove Michael Gove hit back at Sir Keir and Ms Rayner who said that the flagship policy was “killed at birth” by Rishi Sunak when he served as Chancellor and by the failure to devolve more power to regions and local authorities.

Mr Gove said: “It might be hard for a North London lawyer to notice what’s going on across the country, but any fair observer would recognise the scale of transformation we are delivering as part of our plan.

“I know Sir Keir doesn’t get on with the mayor of Greater Manchester but Andy Burnham has recognised our reforms as ‘a new era for English devolution’.

“And the North East mayor they have kicked out the Labour party, Jamie Driscoll, revealed that Sir Keir ‘dropped’ Labour plans for devolution.

“Labour’s 13 years in office saw no powers in England devolved beyond the M25. Since the publication of the Levelling Up White Paper two years ago, devolution has been extended across two thirds of England, and 90 percent of the North, with more to come.

“This is the biggest ever transfer of powers from Westminster to local communities – and it’s been done in record time. Powerful mayors including Andy Street and Ben Houchen are able to decide how they spend their own money, freeing over 30 million people across the country from the grip of Whitehall and attracting investment from around the world.

Mr Starmer’s intervention represents an attempt to exploit Tory divisions over levelling up.

Mr Johnson has previously criticised Mr Sunak for failing to deliver on levelling up while Andy Street, the Conservative West Midlands mayor, has accused the government of overseeing a “begging bowl culture”.

Mr Gove said: “We have spent billions of pounds in levelling up funding right across the UK, with 13 Investment Zones and 12 freeports. Our Long-Term Plan for Towns programme means £1.5billion for 75 towns .

“Labour have no plan. They have attacked Levelling Up Funding and devolution. Labour would just take us back to square one”.

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