COUNCILLORS in York have backed a Yorkshire devolution deal covering the biggest possible geography, despite pushes from the Tory group to abandon the “One Yorkshire” bid in favour of a smaller “Greater Yorkshire” deal.

Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green councillors together out-voted the Conservatives on the ruling administration, and approved a motion which “recognises the potential advantages of a ‘One Yorkshire’ deal.”

The “One Yorkshire” proposals sprang out of talks over the summer between 17 local authorities across Yorkshire, but has not been backed by ministers because of an earlier deal struck with councils in South Yorkshire.

Conservative Cllr Stuart Rawlings sparked this evening’s debate with a motion that said as a separate South Yorkshire deal now looked “highly likely”, the Greater Yorkshire deal covering the West, East and North of the county as well as Hull was the realistic option.

He said three years of in-fighting and disagreements had resulted in “missed opportunities” for people in York.

Although Cllr Rawlings said the “One Yorkshire” dream was now dead, Labour’s Dafydd Wiliams said the specific One Yorkshire proposal already excluded Sheffield and Rotherham, who are committed to the alternative South Yorkshire deal.

The amendment put forward by Liberal Democrat Keith Aspden, and backed by Labour and the Greens, instead referenced the CBI’s support for the largest possible Yorkshiire deal, and said York council chiefs should work with people in the region and in government to “ensure that this option and its deliverability is fully explored.”

The vote came a few hours after a meeting between 15 Yorkshire council leaders – including York’s Cllr David Carr – which ended with an agreement to seek a meeting with Communities Secretary Sajid Javid to make the case for “One Yorkshire” once more.

Despite backing the smaller Greater Yorkshire plan as the “most realistic option” at the full council meeting, Cllr Carr said he was prepared to test the wider plan again.

He said: “We are only one of 17 authorities and my main motivation is to get the very best for York in any devolution deal. If that turns out to be testing yet again the ‘One Yorkshire’ deal and seeking clarity from government, I will fully engage with that.”

The devolution debate was the first in series of votes that saw the Liberal Democrats – who are in a joint administration with the Conservatives on City of York Council – vote with Labour and the Greens to defeat the Tories.

One motion on the future of York’s libraries passed against Conservative votes; another on help for homeless people was voted through while Conservative councillors abstained; and a third on extending the rules around shared housing got unanimous backing.