This event in the very elegant Majestic Barriere Hotel focussed on a Gordian knot which has not yet been successfully untied.
Sir Howard Bernstein (Manchester), Joe Anderson BE (Liverpool) and Sir Edward Lister (London) each sought to make the case that these three major cities each needed the others to ensure optimal growth and development (picking up on the theme that cities are now the engines for economic expansion).
The assertion by Sir Ed that London does not operate as a black hole sucking away investment from other regions in the UK was listened to politely by the Liverpool and Manchester contingent but there were no audible signs of agreement either.
The very strong message, delivered most forcefully by Sir Howard, was that Manchester and Liverpool need greater fiscal autonomy in order to be able to deepen and broaden reinvestment for growth led by the two cities.
This was well supported in the room, but in discussion afterwards there was a clear recognition the political mountain to be climbed to achieve anything akin to that.