YORKSHIRE council leaders have agreed to start fighting for a single devolution deal covering most of the county.

County leaders met in York last week, and have today announced a "coalition of the willing" is now working towards "a single ambitious devolution deal".

York leaders were at the meeting, as well as those from North Yorkshire and all its seven districts, the East Riding, Leeds, Hull, Barnsley, Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees.

In a joint statement the leaders said: "Today is Yorkshire Day and therefore it seems right to talk today about our county, its ambitions and our identity. Last Friday, Yorkshire Leaders met in York in a positive and constructive meeting and agreed that they have strong common cause. The county is big enough and bold enough to want to carve out its own destiny. Leaders were focussed on increasing productivity and growing an inclusive economy that works for all."

The announcement could see a directly elected mayor in place for the county in the not-too-distant future.

Previously there had been several, rival bids proposing how to carve up the Yorkshire region in order to obtain more devolved powers from the Government.

They included the Greater Yorkshire plan and the Leeds City Region bid, which proposed West Yorkshire’s five councils pair up with York, Hambleton, Craven and Selby.

The latest agreement sees the greatest number of Yorkshire councils working together and brings Barnsley and Doncaster on board.

Sheffield and Rotherham are believed to favour pursuing their own devolution deal.

The leaders are to fight for a deal based in the first instance on a directly elected mayor, the statement added.

"All leaders present, including Barnsley and Doncaster, supported this approach as well as supporting a deal for Sheffield and Rotherham, should they seek to pursue that as an option."

They will meet again in September, in the meantime talking to MPs, businesses, unions and political groups.

"It is a Happy Yorkshire Day across the whole of this great and historic county - a county with the potential for as great a future as a past,” the statement said.