A new super council is set to get parliamentary approval today despite MPs' fears it will be a North East talking shop.
The seven North East councils will be given the legal go-ahead to merge roles around transport and job creation, though no local council will disappear and residents will still vote for local councillors.
Government ministers have backed the new combined authority as a way to speed up major decision making, allowing the super council to borrow money to invest and lead the way on local transport issues.
But MPs meeting today are set to raise questions over the new voice for the North East.
Newcastle MP Nick Brown said the Labour-dominated council would freeze out local opposition councillors, saying that the “Russian Duma has more time for opposition.”
He told the Journal: “The main complaint is that they all talk a good game but nothing that has been presented to us suggests how they will achieve anything, in particular over economic development.”
Mr Brown was among several North East Labour MPs to previously rubbish the findings of the Adonis Report which recommended the region sets up a combined authority to prevent councils competing with each other.
He added: ”The note we received from the Local Enterprise Partnership explaining what will happen with a combined authority read like the prospectus of the South Sea Bubble. It is all generalisation, there isn’t a single specific point in this.”
Hexham MP Guy Opperman is also on the committee set to push through the changes, and said he backs the need for a new power in the region. He said: “We are stronger together, and are able to show we have changed. No more should we be in a turf war between different local authorities, where everyone loses out. No other region has addressed its strengths and weaknesses like the North East did with the Adonis Report. This report was business-led, written by experts, apolitical, hard-hitting and realistic. It pulled few punches.”