Moreover the conservative thinking of most of the English people with their reluctance to accept any changes may be another reason for the refusal to consider the development of regional governments. However the Labour government of England had a different view altogether. With disregard to the public opinion the government wanted to push the conservative policies of regionalization of the government. This, the labour government wanted to do as a measure to strengthen the operating mechanisms of the central government in the different regions. With this intention the Government held a referendum in the North East Region of England on the 4th of November 2004, for assessing the public opinion on the regionalization of the government. For whatever reasons, the referendum was rejected overwhelmingly by the voters showing their intention clearly against the formation of any regional assemblies.
This paper attempts to discuss in detail among other things, the possible reasons for holding such a referendum, the campaigns made in support and against such referendum, the turnout of the voters and the details of the final results of the referendum.
North East region in one of the eight regions of England, that stretches from Scotland to Yorkshire. "The region was created in 1994 and was originally defined as Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Cleveland As part of a reform of local government Cleveland has since been abolished and several unitary districts created." (All Experts)
A rich natural heritage makes the region one of the unique locale with its long stretches of coast and extensive upland tracts.
The capital of the region is Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The Cathedral city of Durham in this region is the city's political centre and was tipped to get the assembly housed there. Sunderland and Middlesbrough are the other cities of the North East region of England. Basically these cities were industrialized ones. "As such, wages and the standards of living in the region are the lowest in England, with high unemployment the norm" (Andrew Stevens 2004)
The region has also returned to the Parliament political bigwigs like Prime Minister Tony Blair himself among others.
With this background the government put forth the referendum to the people of North East England to decide on the introduction of a regional government body in the North East region of England.
The voters in the region of North East England rejected the proposal for forming a regional assembly in a decisive manner, making the other two planned referenda for different regions shelved by the government at least temporarily. The referendum had a turnout of 47.8 percent, out of which 22.1 percent voted in favour of the regional assembly, while 77.9 percent voted against making their opinion explicit without doubt.
1.2 Government's Views on the Need for a Directly-Elected Regional Assembly:
The government of UK had expressed its views on the necessity to have an elected regional assembly for the North East England and with these views only the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister had directed the base work far carrying out a referendum in the region as to assess the public opinion for the creation of the elected regional assembly.
The North East Constitutional Convention had identified the following reasons for the North