THE Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen, is shining an interesting light on devolution bids in Yorkshire by saying that a pan-Yorkshire mayor “will not happen and cannot happen”.

Mr Houchen has only been in office for a year, and has certainly hit the ground running. Devolution is also a good thing.

But Mr Houchen says, though, that Yorkshire is too big for the mayoral model to work – even though 18 out of 20 Yorkshire councils, including our own, are pushing for that model’s adoption.

It is true that a One Yorkshire mayor would be a very powerful figure – his 5.3m population would put him on a par with fully-blown countries such as Finland or Slovakia. He could go out into the world with some strength.

However, Mr Houchen’s other points about the disparate nature of Yorkshire’s economy are worth bearing in mind, and the danger of a One Yorkshire mayor is that the rural peripheries of the huge county would be marginalised, as the urban areas shout loudest about their needs.

One of the great failings of the European model is that MEPs have no local connections because of the enormity of their constituencies. The worry is that a Yorkshire mayor would also be too big to have a sub-regional impact – from his palace in Leeds or Sheffield, would he worry about little Leyburn or hidden-away Hawes?

One of the reasons that there is momentum behind One Yorkshire is because the local councils failed to agree how they could divide into sub-regions. We, though, are yet to be convinced that creating a superstate is the best way for Yorkshire to go forward.