We already have a very English Parliament at Westminster. But it needs to be refocused and we need to decentralise, not perpetuate centralised Government.
The public have lost faith in Westminster government because it is too distant and works largely through quangos run by individuals appointed by, and responsible to, Ministers and civil servants in London, and not local people.
There is a major democratic deficit at regional and local levels which needs to be addressed in the West Midlands rather than by another distant body.
There is a need to look at Westminster and consider what type of Government the UK and its constituent nations, regions and localities needs.
Westminster is too big. There are nearly 700 members of the House of Commons, of whom about 600 represent English constituencies. The membership of the House of Lords is even more English.
We have to seriously question the representativeness, costs and effectiveness of Westminster. The West Midlands has 59 out of 658 MPs, or about nine per cent of the total ? below the share the region might reasonably expect.
The 700 members of the House of Commons cost about #150 million per annum, of which the 59 MPs who represent the West Midlands region cost about #12 million per annum.
Of the 700 members of the House of Lords, less than 20 have a West Midlands base. It is dominated by peers with a base in London and the South-east.
The domestic business of Parliament is almost wholly about England. Westminster and Whitehall are responsible for English education, health, transport, local government, trade and industry, rural affairs, and a whole raft of other matters.
In fact, Westminster?s domestic responsibilities have related to England outside London since the Greater London Authority was established.
We need a UK Parliament and administration, but far too much government in England is concentrated in London.
Westminster and Whitehall are carrying on as if we have not had any devolution.
Far too many decisions affecting the West Midlands are taken in London, or we are simply ignored. We have strategies and plans galore, but we are far too dependent on London decision-making.
Westminster urgently needs to be re-configured ? slimmed down and given a more UK focus. A new Westminster needs to be far more representative of the nations and regions of the UK. On this basis, the West Midlands could have a stronger position in the new Parliament.
At the same time, we need to decentralise and localise government and representative democratic government.
Westminster and Whitehall are too distant and even the biggest local authorities do not have the ability to deliver what the region needs.