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Lord Avebury: I hope that I may put one more point to the Minister before we finish with this series of amendments. I refer to the membership of Transport for London as opposed to the consultations. The Minister is saying that the point that is raised in the amendment has already been taken care of in paragraph 2(3) to Schedule 8, but that states only that members of Transport for London will represent,


Lord Whitty: I am not sure that the amendment would meet the point that the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, now makes. I am not sure that I agree with his approach. If the interests and the experience he mentioned are represented, they can be represented directly or indirectly. It is a matter of judgment and acceptability as to how they are represented. If we start to prescribe on the face of the Bill precisely how any particular interests should be represented--in this case the interests of the disabled and others with mobility problems--I believe that we shall go down a far too prescriptive channel. One could possibly become more exclusive than inclusive by so doing.

Schedule 8 requires the mayor to,


    "have regard to the desirability of ensuring that the ... membership of Transport for London represents the interests" of those who require accessible transport. That leaves some element of flexibility as to how those interests are represented. However, it makes it absolutely clear that they should be represented. While I understand the concern that some provision should be included as regards the consultation side--although I do not think that is necessary--it could be counter-productive in terms of membership if we were to be too prescriptive here.

Lord Morris of Manchester: I thank my noble friend for giving way. Am I right in thinking that before the intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, he was telling us that he has it in mind to bring a government amendment before the House at the Report

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stage that will meet the concerns expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Swinfen, the noble Baroness, Lady Darcy de Knayth, and myself among others? I am quite sure he appreciates that all the signatories of these amendments genuinely feel that they have raised a point of real substance, but can we hope that he will bring forward a government amendment at the Report stage to try to meet our concerns?

6.15 p.m.

Lord Whitty: My noble friend has exaggerated slightly what I said. That is clearly one option, but I said that because I believe that as this matter has been raised two or three times there is obviously concern that what we think is a logical reading of the Bill as it stands is not sufficient to reassure people. I am prepared to consider whether there are other ways in which we can reassure people. That concern may be satisfied by people reading Hansard and feeling that I have made a more explicit commitment. It may be satisfied by means of an amendment to the Bill. All I said was that I would be prepared to consider the matter further. It will obviously be up to the House to decide whether I have taken sufficient action by the next stage of the Bill to meet the concerns that have been expressed.

Lord Swinfen: I thank those from all sides of the Chamber who have supported this group of amendments. I am delighted that the Minister said that he would consult on the matter. I did not hear him give a commitment to bring forward a government amendment. However, he may do so at Report stage; we do not know. If I recall correctly, some years ago at the time of the privatisation of the railways and the privatisation and deregulation of the national bus companies, I had the support of the party opposite for similar amendments that I moved at that time to both those pieces of legislation. Therefore I hope that the Minister will feel that he can move considerably to counter the concerns that I have raised on behalf of disabled and elderly people. It was not my intention to press any of these amendments this evening. I sought to find out the Government's view on this matter. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer moved Amendment No. 251A:


Page 206, leave out line 34

The noble Baroness said: This amendment seeks to allow assembly members to be members of Transport for London. It seems too prescriptive to say that no assembly members should be members of TfL. Although I can understand that the Government would not want members of what is supposed to be the scrutiny body to pack the TfL board, there are often advantages in having people who belong to one body at least being represented on another. Although I think it is in the Government's mind that the mayor will choose to be a member of TfL, that will not necessarily occur. There are several examples of cases where the Government have shown that they like such dual membership. I refer

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to the Secretary of State's recent appointments to RDA boards. It is noticeable that many council leaders, and certainly councillors, have been appointed to those boards.

Further, leading members of authorities have been appointed to hospital boards. I realise the Minister will say that in the examples I have given one body is not scrutinising the other. However, experience shows that people involved in such bodies can bring their experience or expertise to other bodies. It is most unlikely that several assembly members would also be members of the TfL board. However, it seems a shame to exclude from membership of TfL an able assembly member who could contribute his experience when the mayor may choose not to be a member of that body. I beg to move.

Lord Brabazon of Tara: My Amendment No. 251AA has been included in the group that we are discussing although it addresses a rather different point. I merely want to know why Members of the House of Lords-- I should emphasise straightaway that I am not looking for a job for myself--should not be allowed to be appointed members of the TfL board. There are many Members of your Lordships' House, including those on the Government Benches, who have wide experience of all the matters which are listed under Paragraph 2(3) to this schedule; namely, transport, finance and commerce, national and local government, trades unions and so on. We are described as an "amateur" House. Nearly all of us in this House--except, of course, Ministers--also have outside occupations.

I can understand the reasons for not allowing the other people listed under sub-paragraph (4)--the Welsh will be in Wales, the Scots in Scotland and, hopefully, the Northern Irish in Northern Ireland; Members of the European Parliament will be in Strasbourg or Brussels; they will not be residents of London--but I cannot see why Members of the House of Lords should be barred from being members of the board of TfL.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I will speak first to Amendment No. 251A, which would remove the bar on assembly members being appointed to the board of Transport for London. Here we return to the difference between the role of the mayor and the role of the assembly. The noble Baroness, Lady Miller of Chilthorne Domer, gave the example of the boards of RDAs. Therein lies the difference. In that capacity the board is there to formulate policy; the role of members of the board of TfL is to implement the policy and strategy put forward by the mayor.

The noble Baroness gave an example of an assembly member with ability. That person's contribution in the scrutiny role of the assembly would be vital and extremely valuable, but it is not the role envisaged in her amendment. The TfL board is not intended to include elected political representatives, whether local or national. It has a different role to that of the mayor and that of the assembly. The assembly will have a scrutiny role; it will have to focus the spotlight on the performance of both the mayor and TfL in implementing determined policy. The assembly will also have a role

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in the approval of the overall GLA budget. It is not for assembly members to get involved in the running of TfL.

We cannot accept Amendment No. 251AA, which was spoken to by the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon of Tara. However, we have worded the disqualification relating to the House of Lords so that hereditary Peers who cease to be Members of the House of Lords will be eligible for appointment to the TfL board. It is only Members of the House of Lords, rather than Peers in general, who cannot be appointed to the TfL board.

I understand the reference of the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon of Tara, to the term "amateur" with regard to membership of the House of Lords. However, to imply that those who serve in other elected bodies--be they in Wales or elsewhere--will be too busy to serve on the TfL board but Members of the House of Lords will not be, is a very difficult proposition to convincingly put to the Whips' Office in the House of Lords.

I hope that the noble Baroness and the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw their amendments.


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