Calls for a regional mayor in the West Midlands have been rejected by Conservatives.
The debate over the future of the region has divided the parties after Tories attacked Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, for "repeating the mistakes of the past".
Ms Kelly warned this week that Birmingham must accept an elected mayor if it is to become "a Milan of the Midlands" and join the top rank of European cities.
But the idea was condemned by local MEP Philip Bradbourn (Con West Midlands), the Tory spokesman on regional government in the European Parliament.
He said the proposals simply amounted to re-creating the unpopular West Midlands County Council, which was abolished in 1986.
Ministers have portrayed the creation of a city region with its own mayor as a chance for Birmingham to compete with the leading cities of Europe and the US.
But the Government was simply trying to reintroduce plans for regional government, even though they had been rejected by voters in a referendum two years ago, said Mr Bradbourn.
He said: "I am in complete disagreement with Mrs Kelly's reasoning that, in order to give local authorities power over transport, employment, innovation, creativity and culture and urban regeneration, a new tier of government is required.
"I can remember when we had a similar set up in the shape of the former West Midlands County Council, which started off as a supposed strategic authority and ended up building community centres, a role which was properly that of local councils, and at vast cost to local taxpayers.
"Thankfully, it was soon abolished and no one missed it. Why then are we now about to repeat the mistakes of the past?"
He added: "It seems that Mrs Kelly, instead of pulling back from her predecessor's disastrous policies, is about to impose them with renewed vigour."
Proposals for a new tier of regional government were binned after voters in the North-east overwhelmingly rejected them in a referendum.
Ministers cancelled plans to hold referenda in other regions including the West Midlands.
Instead, they have pursued proposals for city regions, which will be based around major cities - including Birmingham