The Government has been called on to bring back the "territorial integrity and names" of the ancient Ridings of Yorkshire - reversing the "vandalism of the early 1970s."

During a House of Lords debate on the preservation of England's historic counties, the session was dominated by discussion about the White Rose county.

Many of those who spoke raised concerns about the current administrative system in place in Yorkshire and the way the historic county is currently divided up.

Leeds-born Lord Caine told the House: "As one of the Members of this House who was born, bred and still resides in the West Riding of Yorkshire, I assure my noble friend that the Government and the new Secretary of State would be immensely popular across the whole of Yorkshire if they were finally to overturn the vandalism of the early 1970s and restore the territorial integrity and names of the ancient ridings of God’s own county."

Lord Greenhalgh, of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Home Office, responded on behalf of the Government by saying: " The Government proudly flew the Yorkshire flag outside our headquarters to mark Yorkshire Day. That beautiful flag was part of the display in Parliament Square that flew for a week to mark Historic County Flags Day on 23 July. We recognise that people should take great pride in their local identities and we continue to do so, irrespective of the local administrative areas."

Sheffield-born Lord Blunkett, the former Home Secretary, claimed that the national insurance hike last week had skewed funding “ still further” under the Barnett formula, which is used by the UK Treasury to calculate the annual block grants for the Scottish and Welsh Governments and Northern Ireland executive.

He asked: “If the historic county of Yorkshire, which has a population slightly larger than Scotland’s, had its own Barnett formula, it would receive an extra £12 billion. Would that not be levelling up?"

Lord Greenhalgh replied: " I recognise that the noble Lord is a proud Yorkshireman and that he will do all he can to ensure the county gets the resources it needs."

Lord Wallace of Saltaire said all surveys suggest that Yorkshire has “one of the strongest senses of common identity” of any region or county in England, historically as a single county but occasionally divided into three.

“The Government, nevertheless, seem determined to divide it into four, each with its own elected mayor, and have just forced a reorganisation on to North Yorkshire.”

He asked why the Government “insisted on disregarding very strong representations” from almost all councils in Yorkshire, in the way they have pushed their version of ‘devolved’ government?"

Baroness Blake of Leeds said: "I am happy to emphasise the strong feeling about Yorkshire in this Chamber. As we have heard, Britain’s historic counties are central to local identities and Yorkshire is the perfect example of that.

“Unfortunately, the Government have resisted the locally led One Yorkshire devolution deal, supported by 20 out of 22 local authorities, which would celebrate our historic county by bringing power, resources and jobs to the region, allowing it to develop its full potential. Do the Government have any plans to reassess their policy on this and support the ambition of the Yorkshire leaders board and the One Yorkshire committee, which has cross-party support from Members of these Benches?"

Lord Greenhalgh responded: "We continue to look at devolution matters. As the noble Baroness knows, we considered One Yorkshire, but we are some way down the line in creating mayors in the different regions. We recognise the real, proud tradition in Yorkshire, which we should reflect in our national way of life."

Lord Greenhalgh acknowledged that there had been “ a very strong Yorkshire theme today” and concluded: "We need to recognise that historic counties are there and part of our fabric and history. We also need to realise functional economic areas, which do change with time. Obviously, we will reflect our administrative boundaries as the demography of the country changes."