Leader of the Yorkshire Nationalist Party (YNP) Arnold Postlesthwaite said Yorkshire must be independent to meet its full economic potential. However, the YNP does not have enough support from opposition parties to stage a referendum in 2010 but will proceed regardless.
The white paper, to be launched on Yorkshire Day will set out independence as its favoured option. Three other possible scenarios for Yorkshire's future are contained in the white paper: no change in the present set-up; more powers, as recommended by the Hussein Commission review of devolution; and a major transfer of responsibilities from Westminster
Speaking at its launch in York, Mr Postlesthwaite said: "It's time for the people to have their say on Yorkshire's future. The debate in Yorkshire politics is no longer between change or no change - it's about the kind of change we seek and the right of the people to choose their future in a free and fair referendum."
Yorkshire’s Labour leader Steve Pitman insisted his party did not fear a referendum, but called for the idea to be dropped and to focus on more immediate concerns, such as the imminent wiping out of Labour in Yorkshire.
"We should not be distracting ourselves with a referendum, with a question which we don't even know what it is, with options we don't even know what they are," he said. "It could cost anything up to £12m - that's public resources which could be put to far better use protecting Labour’s vested interests."
Deputy leader of the Yorkshire Conservatives, Sir Myner Broadacres-Cash, added: "The worst possible time to be having a referendum is when people are concentrating on the far more important task which is how we deal with Labour's recession and get rid of socialists and greens. That is what we should be focusing on now not wasting our time on constitutional navel-gazing."
Support for the referendum seems increasingly unlikely, after Yorkshire Liberal Democrat leader Dr Nick Spottiswood recently made a rare decision.
The debate continues....