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Lord Williams of Mostyn: If it is convenient to the Committee, I shall speak to all the amendments in the group.

The effect of Amendment No. 354F, the Conservative amendment, is to have the assembly members of the MPA appointed by the assembly rather than the mayor. The Liberal Democrat Amendment No. 354ZF is similar, except for the difference in terminology. The other amendments are consequential.

It comes down to a difference of approach, as identified by the noble Lord, Lord Tope. We return to the old argument about the extension of the powers of the assembly at the expense of the mayor. I am not sure how helpful it would be if I wearied the Committee with a rerun of arguments which have been well ventilated, albeit in the absence of the noble Lord, Lord Cope, and myself.

We believed that the amendments downplay the purpose of the mayor's strong strategic role. We regard the power of appointment as critical to the mayor's ability to take a high level and strategic interest in the authority's efforts to tackle crime and maintain an efficient and effective policing service in London. We do not want to see any diminution of the mayor's power in that respect.

Fundamentally, the difference of approach is as simple as that, but it is important not to overlook the fact that the mayor's power of appointment is subject to the requirement that he or she shall ensure so far as practicable that the appointments reflect the balance of parties on the assembly. We believe that those two aspects taken together arrive at the right, properly balanced conclusion.

Lord Tope: Perhaps I may begin with a point of agreement as regards election or appointment. I entirely accept that the assembly would be appointing the 12 members. It might well be that the 12 appointees would be chosen by elections within the assembly. In that way, we can agree on both election and appointment.

I turn to the more important and substantial matter. I was disappointed with the Minister's reply not because I expected him to agree with me, but because he had not understood and perhaps I had not made my point clearly. The argument is not about the powers of the strategic role of the mayor. If the Government were proposing that the mayor could appoint any 12 members from anywhere, some of whom might happen to be assembly members, I might well be having the argument that we have had throughout; that the assembly and not the mayor should appoint those 12 people.

We are not discussing that. We are specifically discussing 12 members of the assembly, as the Bill provides. Therefore, we are discussing whether the assembly can chose its own members who are bound to be seen as its representatives. Indeed, I assume that they are to be there as representatives of the assembly and

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through it of the London communities. We are discussing whether the assembly has the right to chose its 12 representatives or whether the assembly has imposed upon it whoever the mayor chooses--the mayor's 12 most favoured members of the assembly--subject to the political balance.

That is a different point from the one we repeated about the role of the mayor and the assembly. I am talking specifically about who appoints the 12 people from the assembly. We say that it ought to be the assembly, from which they come and to which they will inevitably be held accountable, rather than the mayor, who will impose them. Many of those 12 unfortunate people who may well have been chosen by the assembly, given that we are talking about almost half the membership, will be held to account by their fellow assembly members who will have had no choice in their appointment. That seems rather unfair to those 12 people, to say the least.

I hope that the Minister will recognise that that is a different point from the one to which he has replied. I am happy to pause in order to give him an opportunity to reply to it. I see that he does not wish to do so. I suspect that I may have won my argument and that we may well return to the matter later when he will have had chance to think of a counter argument or have been persuaded by ours. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 354B to 354F not moved.]

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 354G:

Page 278, leave out lines 1 to 3.

The noble Lord said: We now turn to the deputy mayor. The Bill provides that the deputy mayor should automatically be a member of the MPA. The deputy mayor is to be appointed by the mayor under Clause 41. It also provides that the deputy mayor can be dismissed by the mayor at any time. If after a year or two, or a week or two, the mayor decides that he does not like the deputy mayor, he or she can be dismissed from the post.

However, the Bill also provides that the deputy mayor, by reason of his office, is automatically appointed to the MPA. Interestingly enough, there is no provision for the dismissal of the deputy mayor from that authority. I am not sure whether the deputy mayor, having been dismissed from his post, automatically ceases to be a member of the MPA. If not, presumably the mayor will have to juggle about with the other 11 places.

That is all in the detail of the Bill. We ask whether the deputy mayor should automatically be a member of the MPA. There may well be someone who is regarded as well qualified and the ideal person to be deputy mayor, but who does not want, or is not considered suitable, to be on the MPA. In any event, the mayor may want to delegate to his deputy a great deal of authority in other areas of activity and not want him to be distracted by MPA business.

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It does not seem to me that there should be anything automatic about it. There is more of a case for the deputy mayor to be appointed automatically to the authority if the other 11 were to be elected. If the mayor is to appoint all 12, he can appoint the deputy to the police authority if he feels like it. That would give the mayor greater flexibility. If the others were to be elected, something might be said for making sure that there was a senior figure on the assembly chosen by the mayor. If the Minister does not agree to the previous amendments, there is a strong case for this amendment. I beg to move.

7 p.m.

Lord Tope: I too shall listen with considerable interest to the Minister's response to the very good points that have been made. I am not quite clear why the Government believe that in giving the mayor the power to appoint 12 assembly persons they must insist that one of them has to be the deputy mayor. I do not entirely understand why that is so. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Cope of Berkeley. Should the Minister be so moved by my persuasive arguments that the assembly member should be appointed by that body, it might well be a reasonable compromise that the deputy mayor shall be a member and the other 11 shall be chosen by the assembly. That would appear to be a reasonable way forward. But given that the mayor is appointing all 12, why is it required, whether he likes it or not, that one of them has to be the deputy mayor?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Amendment No. 354G would remove the requirement that the deputy mayor be one of the assembly members on the MPA. The answer to the question raised by both noble Lords who have contributed to the debate is that the deputy mayor is intended to be a figure of considerable importance. He is a key player in the assembly and an important participant in the mayor's cabinet. We believe that if the deputy was not on the MPA, that would significantly weaken the relationship between the mayor and the MPA and would diminish the mayor's influence. We do not want that to happen. That is the simple answer to the question which was very courteously put to me by the noble Lord, Lord Tope.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: I thought the Minister was going to reply in that way, but his argument can be turned upside down. If the mayor already has "his man" or "his person" on the police authority, why does he need to have 11 other people whom he has also appointed? He has his representative in place already and that would be enough.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: I agree with that. The Minister said that the deputy mayor is to be a key player in the assembly and I understand that. He may be a key member in different ways. It may be that his skills and experience show that he is the appropriate person to put on the police authority. But he may be a key member in other respects. There may be another key member in the assembly who is more appropriate to be the mayor's

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principal link with the police authority, the strategy and the planning. It does not seem to me that a case has been made out for having the deputy mayor automatically elected.

I understand that the mayor will want to have a good relationship with the police authority. If the mayor is able to appoint 12 people, he will have a good relationship with the authority. If not, it will be the mayor's fault if he does not have a good relationship. I do not believe that it would be weakened if for some of the time the deputy mayor was put on the police authority. Does the Minister want to intervene?

Lord Bach: I am very grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. Can he really envisage circumstances in which someone as significant as the deputy mayor, a member of the assembly, would not be properly on the police authority? Inevitably, that person would be the link, if nothing else, between the assembly and the police body. Can the noble Lord envisage circumstances in which such an important person would not be on the body? If he can, perhaps he can tell the Committee what those circumstances might be.

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