Monthly newsletter Edition 23 Sir Robert reports:- Page 2

Labour policy on regional government is beginning to move ahead, with proposals for assemblies, referenda etc. on the cards for Autumn. With the assistance of Cllr. Les Byrom, Tory Leader in the NW Regional Assembly, I convened a meeting of all the Tory Group Leaders at County Hall, Preston, in July, to discuss our collective view of regionalisation, to decide on a mutually acceptable policy and to plot a strategy to put the Conservative case up to and during any referendum. We have set up a small ad-hoc working group, representing Parliamentary, Council and Voluntary sides of the Party and are preparing ourselves for the fray! We agreed that we were in favour of a strong regional voice, more devolved powers for local councils and improved representation at all levels of government and parliament but are united in our opposition to current Labour proposals. These will destroy our Shire Counties and Borough Councils, so we must do all in our power to prevent them from wrecking a system of local government which has stood the test of time. However, Conservatives intend to be positive in policy presentation - other then just rubbishing Prescott's plans - focussing on strengthening the role of County and Parish Councils and creating a much closer and effective relationship between MPs, MEPs, Councillors and Government. These ideas are based on the excellent paper devised by Cty. Cllr. Paul Findlow, Cheshire's Tory Leader, and will not involve another unnecessary tier of bureaucracy, at huge cost and little benefit to the taxpayer, but will harness tried and tested structures to deliver the regional policies so needed in the North West.

Another cock-up by Kinnock has been highlighted by Tory MEPs. The Chief Accountant responsible for auditing the EU books was scandalised recently by the state of the finances and said so to the Commissioner and anyone else who would listen. For her forensic skills and public-spirited actions, she has been sacked by the Welsh "boyo", who doesn't like his failure to do the very job for which he was appointed to be exposed to media ridicule. What a charade! What a disgrace! Kinnock should be the one to go not the efficient and impressive Chief Accountant. We will keep up the pressure on this flawed Commissioner.

My colleague, Giles Chichester (SW), and I have persuaded some continental MEPs to join us at Sellafield in September, as guests of BNFL, to see for themselves the extent of this important company's activities. There are many myths and scare stories about the site - against which I campaign whenever the anti-nuclear lobby opens its mouth - and it is essential that the facts about nuclear power and waste management are known to as many influential people as possible. Indeed I want to see more nuclear power stations in the UK, as the most sensible method of producing energy at least cost to the environment.

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