YEP Letters November 20

Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
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Check out today’s YEP letters

MPs’ job to represent constituents

Alan Slomson, Leeds 6

Martin Phillips (YEP Letters November 17) shows that he does not understand the British constitution when he says that MPs who don’t accept the Brexit referendum result should resign.

The job of an MP is to represent the interests of their own constituents as best they can. In Leeds there was a remain majority in the referendum.

Following Mr Phillips’ logic you could equally well argue that it is the duty of all Leeds’ MPs to oppose Brexit! As the current Brexit shambles makes increasingly clear, there never was any possibility of a deal that would leave us with most of the advantages of EU membership without the disadvantages. But there are still Brexit fantasists who cannot come to term with this reality.

I predict they will continue blame everyone, except those who misled them at the time of the referendum, for the difficult position in which we now find ourselves.

Tory leader played key role in saving theatre

Michael Meadowcroft, Leeds 13

Chris Bond’s article on the Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House, (YEP November 14) painted a graphic picture of the vicissitudes of the theatre over its 140 year life.

He ought to have mentioned the key role played in 1969 by the then Conservative Leader of the Leeds City Council, Frank Marshall, in securing its future. Relying on my recollections of that time, the then owners, Howard and Wyndham, wished to demolish the theatre in order to develop the site. Frank Marshall took the view that it would be highly detrimental to Leeds if its last lyric theatre were to disappear. Realising that for the city council to take it over could be politically dangerous for the Conservatives, he sought successfully to build a cross-party consensus, even consulting the small Liberal Group, of which I was at the time the leader.

The city council’s planning committee duly discussed the proposal for demolition in the light of the plan for council intervention and refused the application. If the municipal authority is the prospective owner of the site the law, rightly, requires that authority to issue an “alternative development certificate” stating what other use there could be. This is to avoid the public authority being opposed to a development to gain a financial advantage. The city council then stated categorically that the only possible use was as a theatre. Howard and Wyndham appealed and an inspector was appointed to assess the case and to report to the government. This inspector in due course accepted the city council’s statement of its use. The consequence of this was that the theatre was obtained for a far lower figure than if it had planning permission for development.

Frank Marshall’s final tactic was to set up a board of directors, appointed by the council, to be responsible for the direction of the Grand, with its finances underpinned by the council. This had the benefit of being at arms length from the council and able to avoid the day to day problems of party politics. This structure, plus the early appointment of Warren Smith as Manager, guaranteed the future success of this Leeds icon. In Chris Bond’s article he includes Ken Dodd’s compliment to the theatre. I can add a similar anecdote. One day, on the train up to Leeds from Kings Cross, I got into conversation with that much loved actor Frank Thornton. He told me that early in his career he was booked to appear at the Grand. He said: “I stepped out on to the stage, looked into that wonderful auditorium, and thought, this is what I joined for!’”

Safeguarding war stories

MJ Dickinson, Guiseley

I BELONG to the generation whose grandfathers fought in the First World War, so we are the generation who can still remember them when they were hale and hearty.

We can remember their voices and the fun they were to be with. It follows then that we are also the keepers of stories, photographs and artefacts from our grandparents’ youth.

With this in mind, could I ask your readers to consider sending any precious photographs, medals, artefacts and recollections to the appropriate Regimental Museum for permanent safekeeping and the wider telling of their grandfathers’ stories via the internet? Even one photograph with a name adds to the story.

If many people do it, a valuable archive is being built for future generations.

House clearances, robberies, and general indifference can lose the things which are precious to us and a valuable resource for the future. Should anyone’s grandfather have been in the Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry or the 12th Manchester Battalion, you can email

It is wonderful to know that my grandfather’s story and artefacts can now be viewed online and so he can never be forgotten.

How is Brexit deal taking back control?

David Gray, Liversedge.

Who would want to stay in the European Union when it can be seen from the constraints they have forced into the final Brexit deal document the way they intend to control and restrict?

On top of that we have seen the intention of the creation of a European army and thus the possibility of forces being taken out of sovereign country control and put under control of the EU commissioners.

Despite all this we have the illogical view of Scotland, and perhaps others, that despite pushing for more devolution from the centre in one breath, they are pushing for more control by the EU in another.

The EU have made it clear they intend to push to greater integration and central control.

And then we are asked to go from a situation where we had the facility and right to come out of the EU at our behest by triggering Article 50 into a new situation where we are in future arrangements that can only be terminated by persuading the EU to agree that we should exit, thus giving them a controlling veto. How is that taking back our sovereign control?

There may be some good things in the proposals (fisheries, agriculture, etc.) but are they there to lure us into a trap.

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