Clark promises councils seat at Brexit negotiations - and "radically expanded" role

Local government will have a seat at the negotiating table for the UK's exit from the EU and Whitehall will not be the "default destination" of powers returning from Brussels, Greg Clark has said.

The secretary of state told the Local Government Association's annual conference in Bournemouth that the response to Brexit has to be a "radically expanded role for local government".

"For years we have been urging subsidiarity - the principle that power is held as close to the people as possible - on the European Union," he said.

"We now must apply it at home and ask first whether powers and funds can be transferred to local government. That means that local government must be represented at the negotiating table. I argued successfully for English local government to be part of the negotiations on the terms of our exit."

Clark has asked LGA chairman Lord Porter to put bringing together a team of councillors representing all parties and parts of the country to "make good use of this seat at the table".

The LGA has called for councils to have a leading role in Brexit negotiations, saying EU regulations affect many local services, from recycling and environmental to employment, consumer protection and health and safety, and power should not be "swallowed up" by Whitehall.

The association has also called on ministers to provider assurances that £5.3bn in EU regeneration funding already allocated to local areas up to 2020 will be protected.