New Midlands ‘champion’
THE new official “champion” of the Midlands is James Brokenshire.
The 50-year-old Tory MP is Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
But he also has another title. He’s the Ministerial Champion of the Midlands Engine – and yes, that is an official government position.
It’s a role held by Sajid Javid, the MP for Bromsgrove, since it was created in 2015.
The Midlands Engine is a government project similar to the Northern Powerhouse.
It involves both the West Midlands and the East Midlands. One of the goals is to encourage the two regions to work more closely together, and that includes improving transport links between them.
Apparently, Birmingham is stronger not only if it joins forces with Coventry, Wolverhampton and Dudley, but also if it forges links with Leicester, Nottingham and Derby.
There’s also a focus on encouraging local government, businesses and universities to join forces.
Businessman Sir John Peace, ex-chairman of British fashion house Burberry, is the Midlands Engine chair.
Mr Brokenshire said: “The economic success of every region of the UK is vital to the success of our country as a whole and this is going to be more important than ever once we leave the European Union.
“I am delighted to be the new ministerial champion for the Midlands Engine and to act as its advocate across government.”