Devolution deal negotiator resigns from Government

A politician who was one of the architects of the West Yorkshire devolution deal has stepped down from the Government.

Teesside MP Simon Clarke said he has resigned from the Government for “personal reasons”.

He was part of the Government’s negotiating team during the lengthy process to secure devolution for West Yorkshire, which means Leeds and Bradford will join Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Birmingham in being led by an elected mayor.

The deal will provide £1.1bn of investment for the area over 30 years, and the region will also gain significant new decision-making powers on transport, planning and skills.

In his letter to Boris Johnson, Clarke, who is MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, talked about “balancing my own life against the demands of office”.

He was appointed to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in February this year, after moving from the Treasury.

Clarke will continue as an MP and says he hopes to return in the future.

In his letter of resignation, he said: “I would not have made this decision unless I believed it was of the utmost importance. It has been a privilege to serve as a minister in your administration.”