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Lord Whitty: I was going to intervene on the points made by the noble Baroness, Lady Young, in two senses. First, I believe that she misunderstood my reference to equivalence. I was talking internationally in terms of local government or of city governments. To my knowledge, there is no equivalent where you have a separately elected deputy mayor. But I also think that the case is probably true on a joint ticket if there is a mayor and he then appoints the members of his administration. That is how we envisage it.

Secondly, I did not quite follow the noble Baroness, Lady Young, when she said that there is already conflict of authority, if not legitimacy, here between two lots of directly elected people when you interpose a third directly elected person with slightly different functions. The point of the deputy mayor from our point of view is threefold. First, he will be deputy in the strict sense of the word. Once appointed, he can take up duties which the mayor requests him to do. Secondly, there are some specific roles, in particular in relation to the Metropolitan Police, where I believe it would probably not be appropriate for the mayor to be on the authority. But it would make sense for a clear link between the mayor, the assembly and the police authority. The general roles of deputy mayor are outlined to a large extent in Clause 41 of the Bill.

Thirdly, our intention is that the deputy mayor should act as a link between the two directly elected bodies, one of which is there primarily for scrutiny while the other is there primarily as the executive. There is an area of conflict clearly envisaged in that demarcation/separation of powers. Giving the deputy mayor some specific recognition will not make him the equivalent of the mayor, with the equivalent legitimacy of the mayor, as perhaps would apply if one included him in every phrase where, if one referred to the mayor, you put instead "the mayor and the deputy mayor". I believe that that is the logic of the noble Baroness's position.

However, it does give a separate position which, on the authority of the mayor and on the authority of the legislation, can provide a bridge between the two parts of this authority. That is unique. I argued against the noble Baroness, Lady Miller, saying that her position was unique, but this is pretty well a unique link that we are establishing here. It is an innovative position to provide separately for an executive power in local government and for the scrutiny power in local government. Therefore, it is important that we also provide mechanisms which give a link between the two.

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In our view, the deputy mayor is one of the ways in which that function can be carried out. I believe that that would apply whether we were on a joint ticket or whether there were separate elections. Clearly it would apply even more strongly if there were a separate election, but it would also apply were the deputy mayor effectively to achieve the same degree of legitimacy by being on a joint ticket.

Baroness Young: Perhaps I may pursue that point with the Minister. I listened with great interest to what he said. He has revealed a great deal more about what the Government intend should be the role of the deputy mayor. The deputy mayor is obviously an extremely important person. Not only is he the link with the police authority but, if I understood the Minister correctly, he will also be the link person between the executive and the--I am not quite sure how to describe this--assembly of the new authority. Indeed, I should have thought that the parallel with an American vice-president would in fact become stronger, although it is not one that I would have drawn at the beginning of the debate.

Far from actually strengthening the Government's case, I believe that the argument that the Minister has made out has strengthened the case of my noble friend Lady Miller. If you are to have someone who will be so powerful in this organisation, surely that person ought to be linked with the mayor on a joint ticket for the election so that everyone knows; otherwise, you will have an election and the most important person after the mayor will be chosen presumably by the mayor--or possibly by a few of his colleagues, but how are we to know because the procedure is not laid down?--for a position which will be extremely important. I should have thought that that undermined the democratic element involved: the right of electors to know who they are getting for this important job. I wonder whether the Minister would like to think about this again.

Lord Whitty: There are two points I should like to make, one of which I suppose is the trump card that I was keeping up my sleeve. First, the deputy mayor as described in this legislation and as envisaged for this authority would be an important figure. He would be able to represent the mayor, but he would be a member of the mayor's administration. He would not be of equal or of virtually equal legitimacy to the mayor in democratic terms. It is true that he would perform a hybrid role as a member of the assembly and as a member of the executive; indeed, he would be the only person who would be able to do so as distinct from the current pattern of local government within this country. Therefore, it is a new structure. However, if you put on that very important person the additional power of direct election equivalent to the mayor, you would actually be building in a recipe for further rather than less conflict.

Secondly--I hope that this will not be regarded as a throw-away point--we did of course pass an Act in this Chamber for a referendum. The people of London did vote on the structure of the GLA and that had

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two directly elected components, not three. Therefore, were we to raise the spectre of a third directly elected element within this constitution at this stage of the proceedings, I think it would be possible to argue that that would undermine what the voters of London had already indicated they were prepared to accept. Indeed, from the overwhelming endorsement that that referendum had, it was very much welcomed. If nothing else, I hope that that will help convince the noble Baroness not to pursue the matter.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: As the Minister continued with his response, I have to confess that I became even more confused, especially when he threw down his trump card about the deputy mayor being part of the administration. The point I was trying to make was that either we have separation of powers or we do not. It is my view that this muddies the water. However, at this stage I shall take the matter away and read in Hansard with great care what the Minister said. Perhaps he will consider the arguments that we have put forward today so that we can pursue the matter at a later stage. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Miller of Hendon moved Amendment No. 4:

Page 2, line 2, leave out subsections (2) to (7) and insert--
("(2) The Assembly shall consist of 33 members comprising--
(a) one nominated representative from each London borough; and
(b) one nominated representative from the Corporation of London.
(3) The Mayor shall be returned in accordance with the provisions made in or by virtue of this Act for the holding of elections and the filling of a vacancy in the office of Mayor.")

The noble Baroness said: In moving Amendment No. 4 I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 19, 21 and 38. They all revolve around another point that would certainly alter the constitution of the assembly. It is, I admit, a pretty forlorn hope that having expended so much effort and parliamentary time on the present set-up, the Government will have second thoughts now and allow the sensible and logical set-up that we propose. I understand the difficulties for the Government. However, I hope that by some miracle the light of reason breaks through and the Government accept some of the amendments and some drastic rewriting of other parts of the Bill that would consequently be required.

However, as I have already pointed out, the Bill has been drastically rewritten once since it started life in the other place. Although further changes would involve more investment of parliamentary time I believe that it would be a sound investment compared with the time that would be needed at some future date to resolve the problems that will face our capital city under the present unsatisfactory scheme. I believe that this Chamber is entitled to an explanation from the Minister as to why the Government have chosen this particular mixture of constituencies and PR.

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The Labour Party promised us when in opposition to bring local government nearer to the people. Its manifesto stated:

    "Local decision making should be more accountable to local people". Yet the Government have created another complete layer of government. The 14 elected constituency members are to represent 14 new giant super constituencies that have no historical connection other than that parts of them happen to border on others. How is bigger better?

There are then 11 members elected on the notorious party list system. If they have any ambitions to stay as members of the assembly from one election to the next, to maintain their position as high up the list as possible, they will need to put party loyalty before concern for the welfare of London. They will, of course, represent no constituency and no constituents. So how are they closer to the people? If recent newspaper reports are correct, the Prime Minister has turned the whole concept of representative government on its head. He is reported as reminding some of his Members of Parliament that their job is not necessarily to represent the views of their constituents but to see that the constituents have current Labour Party policy explained to them and to ensure that they understand it.

The 14 super constituencies are by no stretch of the imagination coterminous with any of the London boroughs. Suppose there was a conflict over some issue between two neighbouring boroughs. How would the constituency assemblyman represent the different interests of the two boroughs in his constituency? The ideal solution, as we have consistently proposed from the outset of the consultation and the legislation, is one member of the assembly for each borough, including the City of London, nominated by the borough that he or she represents. That gets rid of the paraphernalia of electing the assembly and the complicated machinery of elections and by-elections because it can be assumed that the party with the majority in a local council will choose to have someone from within that party to represent its borough. That is democratic enough. The only problem that could arise would be in a borough with no overall control where a certain amount of hard bargaining might be needed.

The Government's answer to the question of why each assemblyman cannot represent a single, historically identifiable borough is that he would be too parochial. That word was mentioned many times in the other place. So much for subsidiarity. So much for bringing local government closer to the people. The Government say that they want the members of the assembly to think strategically, not parochially. The Minister in the other place said that he did not want members of the assembly to push forward their case at a local level but to think of London as a whole. My honourable friend in the other place described that idea as "complete twaddle". He added:

    "It ignores human nature but even worse it is an attempt to rewrite the democratic process". He puts my case precisely.

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A survey in the Evening Standard early in 1998 showed that 10 out of 19 town halls were opposed to the Government's proposals on constituencies. The Minister's response on Second Reading in the other place was to trot out a letter dated the day before the Second Reading which stated that the view that the assembly should consist of representatives of the boroughs was,

    "not a view shared by a majority of boroughs in the Association of London Government". I hope that the Minister does not mind my pre-empting part of his response by anticipating that he might quote from the same letter. It will save my having to point out that the view expressed in that letter was not mooted at an actual meeting of the ALG. According to my honourable friend it was mentioned at the leaders' committee several months previously. No vote was taken and there was no debate on it. I shall not take up more of the Committee's time in arguing this matter. I do not believe that I have to make a case for the assembly that I propose. I believe that it is for the Government to justify the peculiar and ramshackle set-up they have constructed. I beg to move.

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