Lord Heseltine has begun outlining his economic growth report in Birmingham, expanding on his push for the UK regions to be given a greater role in the country's wealth creation.
"When local partners (around the UK) work together that local (partnership) is more powerful that anything London can produce," he said, adding: "Whitehall's ambitions should be to do less, but to do it better."
But the former Tory minister added that his report formed no criticism of the current Government.
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Mrs May will meet business representatives on the Northern Ireland side of the border on Thursday afternoon.