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Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I am afraid that the Government cannot support Amendments Nos. 71A, 72 or 73. When I explain the reasoning, it is possible that the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, will understand our position more clearly.

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I should explain that the Government do not have any particular form of executive in mind based on the provisions of Clause 10(6). It is there to ensure the widest scope for forms of executive which may be requested by local authorities or others which the Secretary of State believes will meet the aims of the Bill. But the amendments would prevent the Secretary of State providing for executives in which all the members were directly elected, or some were elected to specified posts and others elected on a slate basis, for example.

I stress again that we do not have any plans to provide for such forms of executive. If we had a clear idea about further forms of executive which we should like to see in place, we would have placed them on the face of the Bill before the current subsection (5) of this clause. We merely seek to ensure that no potentially valid forms of executive are closed off by unwarranted restrictions to the power in this clause to add further forms of executive in due course. I hope, therefore, that the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Hamwee: It may be the time of night, but I confess that I do not understand the answer.

Clause 10(5) says that the executive,

    "may take any such form as may be prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State".

Members of the Committee may have objections to that; we voiced them in other contexts. Clause 10(6) says that,

    "Regulations ... may, in particular, provide for",

a form of executive which the Government may not want to propose. It is suggested that if the provision is amended, it will limit the options under Clause 10(5). Unless Clause 10(6) sets out exclusively the totality of the forms that can be prescribed under Clause 10(5)--clearly it does not if English means anything--I fail to follow how my amendments have narrowed the possibilities. Indeed, I do not understand why Clause 10(6) appears on the face of the Bill at all if the situation remains as open as the noble Baroness said.

I am genuinely concerned that the cabinet that this model appears to be promoting is one which will be so restrictive as to constrain the operation of an authority which adopted it. That is one argument as to the validity and desirability of this model. The wider point is the relationship between subsections (5) and (6) of Clause 10 which, although I shall go back and read the answer, does not appear so far to have been satisfactorily explained.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I am happy to write to the noble Baroness. My understanding is that part of her proposal deletes some of the variety of options. However, it may be more satisfactory for me to write to her, place a copy in the Library and send a copy to the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith.

Baroness Hamwee: The amendment does delete some of the options. That in part was for the purpose of debate. One has to find some form of words in order

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to explore the principle. My underlying point is the relationship between those two subsections. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 72 to 74 not moved.]

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 75:

    Page 5, line 37, at end insert--

("( ) The authority may determine the title to be used for the position of mayor elected under this Act.").

The noble Baroness said: In case the Government feel that they have, so to speak, "bought" an argument on Amendment No. 74, I can say that it covered the same ground as that spoken to by the noble Lord, Lord Hardy of Wath. That is why I did not move it.

Amendment No. 75 takes us to what I suspect may be a rather vexed question among the little group of people who are concerned about matters of ceremony, and so on. I refer to the possible confusion between the elected mayor and the ceremonial mayor to whom we are all accustomed.

I believe that many members of the public set high value on the work done by ceremonial mayors; indeed, I do. My observation of the activity of mayors is that they are frequently extremely hard working and spend an awful lot of time within the community. I do not think that I have ever heard a former mayor saying, "I didn't actually learn anything during that year". They all tend to say, "I met so many groups of people and learnt so much about my own area that I didn't realise I didn't know". They are valued by members of the public as representing the council and the government of that area.

Like other noble Lords, I consulted a dictionary to see how the word "mayor" is defined. The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, the one to which I had access, was not very helpful, because it defines a mayor as being the,

    "head or chief officer of the municipal corporation".

So it was ahead of its time, but not very helpful in this context.

I believe that the Government take the view that there should be flexibility at local level to combine the functions of an elected mayor with the ceremonial role. I am not arguing against that, although I have to say that I am rather doubtful as to whether it would work. They also say that the elected mayor must--and this is where I find some difficulty--be called "mayor". I would prefer to see the continuation of some old traditions and not have our language distorted in this area by the "modernisation" that is being applied through this process. If and when the public is told that it may have two mayors, I believe it will add to the confusion and not assist matters. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: This takes me back. Indeed, very many years ago I remember a television programme that included Ernest the Policeman and, if my memory serves me correctly, Larry and Mr Mayor.

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We already have this position with regard to London. We debated the point at great length in that respect. Looking carefully round the Committee to see which Members are present, I should like to refer to the time when I was--and the Lancashire terminology was in use--chairman of Lancashire County Council. Many district councils already have more than one mayor, because there is a town council mayor, as well as a borough mayor. Other boroughs have chairmen. So a wide variety of terminology is in use. Before speaking in detail to this amendment, perhaps as I come from Preston I may register the fact that nothing would prevent Preston from being able to opt to have either a charter mayor or a guild mayor.

There are attractions to Amendment No. 75, but we feel that it is important for there to be certainty about what a person operating under that particular title is responsible for and how he or she may be held to account. On balance, we think that there should be clear provision in the Bill as to the type of mayor.

As I said, where an authority is entitled by virtue of borough status to call its chairman a mayor, it will be clear, if there is also a leader in the form of executive under this Bill, that the mayor is the chairman rather than any directly-elected figure. If such an authority were to move to arrangements that included an elected mayor and it wished to retain the title of mayor for the chairman, the Government would either need to find a different title for the elected mayor or let local authorities choose a variety of titles for that figure. We believe that greater certainty would be delivered if there were a clear rule that if there is an elected mayor under this legislation, it is that figure who is known as the mayor and the chairman as the chairman, or the chair as the chair, depending on the wishes of the local authority.

I should therefore be grateful if the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, felt able to withdraw her amendment.

11 p.m.

Baroness Hamwee: I cannot say that I am persuaded by that response. In the situation that is to pertain in London there will be a number of mayors. There will be mayors of different authorities. However, I am concerned about confusion within one authority. I cannot readily anticipate the same level of excitement among some groups if they believe that they are to be visited by the chair rather than the mayor as representing the local authority.

I shall not pursue the matter for the moment but I believe that it is a sensitive one. As people outside this building begin to be aware of what is proposed, I shall be surprised if the Government do not receive some emotional lobbying on this matter. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 76:

    Page 5, line 38, leave out ("local authority executive which takes the form specified in subsection (2) or (3)") and insert ("mayor and cabinet executive or a leader and cabinet executive").

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On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 77:

    Page 5, line 39, after ("not") insert ("be fewer than 5 nor").

The noble Baroness said: Amendment No. 77 is grouped with Amendments Nos. 78, 79, 80 and 81. In moving Amendment No. 77, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 79 and 80.

Here we are discussing the size of the executive and the size of the cabinet. The noble Earl, Lord Carnarvon, has tabled important amendments in this group. His amendments and my Amendment No. 77, and Amendment No. 80, which stands also in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, probably share the same concern; namely, a concern about there being a small clique of members who will have inappropriate power.

Amendment No. 77 seeks to include a minimum number of members of a local authority executive. At present the Bill states that the maximum number may not exceed 10. I believe that a cabinet of two or three members should not be permitted. A further amendment in the group in my name seeks to delete a provision with regard to the maximum number. I have strong doubts as the appropriateness of the Secretary of State having the power to prescribe the maximum number. That seems to me to be a great extension of the control that is being imposed.

My Amendment No. 79 seeks to clarify the position with regard to deputies and substitutes. I accept that there may not be much of a distinction as between those terms. It may come as a surprise to the Committee to hear that the amendment is intended for clarification. I was rather surprised by that notion when I reread the amendment. However, I am unclear--I seek an explanation from the Government on this point--as to what scope exists for members of the executive to bring in other people to deputise for them.

I have already expressed my concern about the lack of flexibility that may exist within the tight models that are proposed. I believe that it would be sad if it were not possible for other members of an authority to be brought in to act as deputy to a member of the executive. We shall discuss this at far greater length when we debate the overview and scrutiny committees. Such a provision would permit some experience of executive responsibility and go some way towards furthering the career structure and breadth of experience of councillors. A number of us have concerns about that. I do not think that it is healthy--particularly if there is a very small executive--for there to be no possibility of deputising. As a matter of sheer practicality, I wonder whether the system will work if there can be no deputies. I believe that the Government's thinking at the moment is against the possibility of deputies acting on the executive. I beg to move Amendment No. 77.

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