North East Regional Assembly Referendum 2004

The North East England devolution referendum was an all postal ballot referendum that took place on 4 November 2004 throughout North East England on whether or not to establish an elected assembly for the region. Devolution referendums in the regions of Northern England were initially proposed under provisions of the Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Act 2003. Initially, three referendums were planned, but only one took place. The votes concerned the question of devolving limited political powers from the UK Parliament to elected regional assemblies in North East England, North West England and Yorkshire and the Humber respectively. Each were initially planned to be held on 4 November 2004, but on 22 July 2004 the planned referendums in North West England and in Yorkshire and the Humber were postponed, due to concerns raised about the use of postal ballots, but the referendum in North East England was allowed to continue, particularly as it was assumed that the region held the most support for the proposed devolution.

On 4 November 2004, voters in the North East rejected the proposal, in an all-postal ballot, by 77.9% to 22.1%, on a turnout of 48%. Every council area in the region had a majority for "no". The referendum was held in what was arguably Labour's strongest region within the United Kingdom which included at the time the then Prime Minister Tony Blair’s own constituency in Sedgefield. The defeat marked the end of the Labour Government's policy of devolution for England, and the other proposed referendums for the North West and for Yorkshire and the Humber were dropped indefinitely.