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Baroness Hamwee: A number of amendments in my name and those of my noble friends are grouped with this amendment. We, too, are concerned about the respective roles in London. When examining this clause, I wondered whether it would be appropriate to try in some way to replicate the role of the Chambers outside London. I was not nearly so ambitious as to have a go at that kind of provision. I recognise that the assembly has been given a

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role in the matters of appointment and so forth with which the amendments in this group are concerned.

For example, in regard to Amendment No. 327A dealing with appointments, I acknowledge that the Bill gives the assembly the role of acting as consultee. We seek to provide the assembly with the opportunity also to say no to appointments. We have said throughout our debates on the Bill that an opportunity will be lost if the scrutiny role of the assembly is down-played. We are told that that is not what the Government have in mind in their modernisation programme, and that they believe that a scrutiny body can scrutinise, as it were, in advance. To down-play the assembly's role would represent a great loss of opportunity as regards the talent that we hope will be available in the new body. While this is not the model that we would wish to see, with a mayor who will almost certainly be elected substantially on the basis of personality as well as politics--or possibly personality more than politics--it would be right for the 25 assembly members to play a restraining and a constructive role. The amendments that we have tabled in this group continue that thread in our argument.

I have referred to Amendment No. 327A. Amendment No. 333A relates to the appointment of chairmen of the new authority. Amendment No. 348A relates to the disposal of land for less than the market value, or acquiring an interest in another body. We believe that the assembly as well as the mayor should give consent in such a situation. Amendment No. 350A would allow the assembly a role in the period within which a public meeting is to be held following the publication of the annual report and provisions for the conduct of the meeting. I suspect that that whole area, bureaucratic as it may be, is one to which we may want to return in general with regard to the assembly at a later stage. Its good and effective workings depend on such provision.

Amendment No. 350B adds a requirement for the assembly to give consent before the LDA issues a compulsory purchase order. That could be an important part of its activities, Amendment No. 351A deals with a major matter--namely, if the LDA changes its name, it will be required to tell the assembly that it has done so. If the Minister tells me that I am being rather prescriptive, I shall accept his criticism. Amendment No. 351B would require the assembly to approve by a simple majority the decision of the mayor to remove a member of the LDA whom the mayor regards as unfit to carry on the functions. It would also give the assembly the power on its own to vote to remove an unfit member from office.

These are in themselves small matters, but they amount to important indicators as to the respective roles of the people who will have the responsibility to make sure that London, and London's regeneration, work well.

3.15 p.m.

Lord Whitty: This part of the Bill deals with the London Development Agency. As the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, recognised explicitly, and to some extent also the noble Baroness, the amendments in this grouping relate back to the constitutional part of the Bill and how it feeds through into this section. Although they

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may be related to matters dealing with the LDA, they stem from a difference of opinion on the respective roles of the mayor and the assembly.

In that context, I find it difficult to tackle the amendments each and severally, because they all stem from a fundamental difference. We propose that the mayor should play the executive decision-taking role in this as in other areas, and that the assembly should provide scrutiny of the mayor's actions. The majority of the authority's functions will be exercised by the mayor. They include all of the functions that are dealt with by these amendments: consenting to the appointment and remuneration of LDA staff; consenting to the acquisition of company shares; and approving the LDA strategy. Those are all functions exercisable by the mayor. It is not appropriate that those decisions should be exercised jointly, or partially jointly, with the assembly. That would not be a recipe for efficient and effective government, and it is not what we have discussed from the very beginning, prior to the referendum, in terms of how the authority operates.

The role of the assembly is very important. It is to hold the mayor to account for the way in which his executive functions are exercised. That is a model for good, accountable administration. All of these amendments seem to suggest some degree of joint executive power in areas which we would reserve for the mayor. If we give joint executive power, how can the assembly then effectively scrutinise its own exercise of that executive power--and in particular, in relation to these amendments, with respect to the LDA? If the assembly is already party to the decision, or has second-guessed the mayor's decision, how can it then exercise an independent scrutiny function?

I do not wish to go any further, but the amendments undermine our essential approach. We believe that they would be unworkable, particularly in this area which relates to important economic decisions. If there were a difference of opinion on the nature of the regeneration plan for all or part of London and the assembly and the mayor could not reach a compromise, how would we be able effectively to operate the LDA's function? That is not a recipe for good government and, equally importantly, it is not a good recipe for improving the economy and prosperity of London.

I am open to pressure from the noble Lord to go further on particular amendments. However, I do not believe that it would shed any greater light on the group of amendments. This is a fundamental constitutional matter to which the noble Lord indicated he wished to return on Report. This kind of amendment is probably best dealt with in that context, not this. I therefore ask the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment at this stage.

Lord Dixon-Smith: I am grateful to the Minister for his reply which was neither more nor less than I expected. As I said when I moved the amendment, we have had this debate on a number of occasions. The Government have been firm in their view, but the root cause of the difficulty is that there is a difference in terminology between the place from which this idea

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came and the practice in this country. We need to recognise that, but that recognition cannot be achieved through the amendments.

I do not propose to press the individual amendments. However, in response to one comment made by the Minister, it seems to me that we should all be concerned if there was no agreement between the mayor and the assembly. The Minister posed the rhetorical question: How would we then obtain action? Democratic practice in this country has been that we proceed by agreement. In the new authority, if there is no agreement but there can still be action, we may find that at some point we are stepping into dangerous territory. With that slight hesitation, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments No. 326D to 327A not moved.]

[Amendment No. 328 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

[Amendment No. 328A not moved.]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): I must point out to the Committee that if Amendment No. 328B is agreed to, I cannot call Amendments Nos. 329 or 330.

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 328B:

Page 129, line 33, leave out from ("effect,") to end of line 38 and insert ("the membership of the London Development Agency shall include--
(a) at least two elected members of the Assembly, and
(b) at least two elected members of a London borough council or the Common Council of the City of London.
( ) In this section a reference to elected members shall refer to their being elected members at the time of their appointment.").

The noble Baroness said: This amendment is grouped with Amendments Nos. 329, 330, 331, 332 and 352 in the names of other Members of the Committee. I should be happy if Amendment No. 328B were accepted without discussion, but that is probably an unrealistic ambition. I am sure that the Lord Chairman's warning about pre-emption will not preclude discussion of the matter.

Clause 237(9) provides for the mayor to make certain appointments. They include four members of the agency who are, for the purpose of my amendment members of the London assembly, a London borough council or the Common Council of the City of London. Whether they are or were such at the time of their appointment is an irrelevant distinction. For most purposes in the Bill, the latter is grouped with the London borough councils.

My amendment proposes that rather than being able to appoint four members from any one or a group of those categories, the mayor should appoint at least two members of the assembly and at least two members of a London borough or of the Common Council of the City of London. The London boroughs have an interest in the issue of regeneration. It is obviously accepted in the clause that it would be a good thing if members of a London borough council were able to be appointed to the new agency. However, the mayor could take the view that no London borough councillors should be appointed because the appointees could all come from

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the assembly or, conversely, that no assembly members should be appointed. This takes us a little into the area of the respective roles, which we have been discussing. I confess that I am a little puzzled that members of the assembly are eligible for appointment to the London Development Agency, after the description given by the Minister of the assembly's role in all this.

However, I accept that the people concerned should be members of the assembly and members of London boroughs, and my amendment would ensure that that happened. I beg to move.

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