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The Minister for Transport in London (Ms Glenda Jackson): If I do not respond from my heart, it is not because the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) has not played his usual emotive cards.

I join the hon. Gentleman, as do the Government, in welcoming the moves that the City is making in democratising its institutions. I am second to none in my admiration for Judith Mayhew, who is not only a remarkable woman but is doing a remarkably effective job where she is.

There may be confusion between the title of mayor of London and Lord Mayor of London for visitors to these islands. It has been my experience that, when such visitors refer to the Lord Mayor of London, they inevitably presuppose that his name is Dick Whittington and that he is accompanied everywhere that he goes by a black cat.

Inasmuch as the Lord Mayor presents a glorious figurehead, there is an enormous benefit to the City of London. We are none of us in any doubt about the importance of the City of London, as one of the most dynamic financial centres in the world, to the economy of these islands. But there is no relationship whatever between the job of lord mayor and what we are proposing by way of a directly elected mayor and a directly elected assembly for London.

I was somewhat disappointed that the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey harked back to previous debates. As my hon. Friend the Minister for London and Construction has already had occasion to say, ours is the only major capital city in the world that does not have an elected authority.

Our proposals--I am delighted to blight the hopes of the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth)--were supported by a majority of those who

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voted in the referendum, in every London borough, including his own. They will provide the people of London with what we promised in our manifesto and what they voted for--a directly elected mayor of London and a London assembly.

We are in the process of modernising the government of the capital and giving power to the people of London, and they are most certainly not fools. They know what they voted for and what we mean by "mayor of London" and "London assembly"; they know what "London" means. They are not concerned with labels, but with whether the Greater London authority will improve London's transport, enhance the capital's prosperity and make London a safer, healthier place in which to work and live.

The people of London are also concerned about whether the GLA will have the powers to achieve those objectives. I do not believe that any useful purpose--

The Chairman: Order. I am sorry to interrupt the Minister, but her arguments are going a little wide of the amendment, which is simply about the title of mayor. Her arguments seem to be more relevant to our previous debate.

Ms Jackson: I am grateful for your advice, Sir Alan.

Central to my argument is the belief that no purpose would be served by--indeed, there is no justification for--changing the titles of either the mayor of London or the London assembly. In the circumstances, I ask the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey to withdraw the amendment.

Mr. Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington): I am afraid that I am not entirely happy with the Minister's response and therefore stress again the importance of amendments Nos. 16 and 17. As well as clarifying the difference between mayor and lord mayor, the amendments would ensure that there is no doubt that the mayor and the assembly will represent not only the interests of inner-city areas, but suburban London boroughs and suburban London constituencies such as mine.

The right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) may not want his constituency to be part of a Greater London construct; I want my constituency to be part of that, and so do my constituents. A few weeks ago, I conducted a survey of rail commuters in the constituency. My constituents commute in their thousands up to Victoria or London Bridge stations and they want the mayor and the assembly to take as much account of their transport and other needs as the needs of residents in inner-city areas such as Southwark or Islington.

Making it crystal clear that the mayor is the mayor of Greater London and the London assembly is the Greater London assembly would reassure my constituents that their interests will not be forgotten and that their concerns--about deteriorating train services, for example--will not be sidelined by other, equally pressing, inner-city problems. I hope, therefore, that the Minister will consider the amendments a little more favourably.

Ms Jackson: I am somewhat surprised that the hon. Gentleman does not seem to be aware that the Greater London authority will comprise the mayor and the

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London assembly. I do not believe that the people of London are incapable of understanding what is meant by "mayor of London" or "the assembly". His fear that the concerns of his constituents, or those of the constituents of any hon. Member representing a London constituency, will be sidelined has been answered by our proposals in respect of the constituencies. The constituencies will have directly elected representatives and the parties' percentage of the vote will be reflected in the 11 members who will be elected to the assembly by the list system.

I return the point that I made earlier, and I am sorry that the hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Mr. Brake) did not afford it the weight that it carries: the people of London are not fools. They have been actively campaigning for the type of government which we made it abundantly clear we would give them. Hopefully, we are in the process of delivering that. They are not confused about what is meant by the "mayor of London" or the "assembly". I trust that, having heard me repeat it, the hon. Gentleman will agree with my previous request to the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey that the amendment be withdrawn.

5 pm

Mr. Simon Hughes: It was worth raising this issue, and I heard what the Minister said in both her brief answers. There is no confusion at the moment because those people do not yet exist. They will exist only from May next year. From that date, a lord mayor may be visiting one country while the mayor of London visits another.

I understand that the Government have drafted the Bill and do not want to concede this point, and I was not expecting an immediate concession. I am generous and understand how these things work, so I shall allow the Government time to reflect on this matter.

Mr. Raynsford: The hon. Gentleman will have to wait a long time.

Mr. Hughes: That was a provocative remark. The Labour party is often slow to reach the right decision. I have learnt that over many years. I have waited a long time for realisation about the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and constitutional reform. We know that with Labour we wait a long time. People in the health service are waiting a long time, too. I shall not stray too far from the subject, Sir Alan, but the Minister tempted me to do so.

I hope that the Government will reflect on this matter in the time that it takes us to complete the Committee stage. We may return to it later, but in the interim I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Ottaway: I beg to move amendment No. 60, in clause 2, page 1, line 15, at end insert--

'(aa) the Deputy Mayor'.

The Chairman: With this, it will be convenient to discuss the following amendments: No. 61, in clause 2, page 2, line 13, after 'Mayor', insert ', the Deputy Mayor'.

No. 62, in clause 2, page 2, line 15, after 'Mayor', insert ', the Deputy Mayor'.

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No. 63, in clause 2, page 2, line 20, after 'Mayor', insert 'and Deputy Mayor'.

No. 64, in clause 2, page 2, line 23, after 'Mayor', insert ', the Deputy Mayor'.

Mr. Ottaway: It is important that the role of deputy mayor be more clearly defined and that it be independent of the assembly. The deputy mayor should not be a member of the assembly and a running mate of the mayor, elected on the same ticket. Clause 41 makes it clear that the deputy mayor has a significant role to play in the life of the authority, and that is repeated throughout the Bill. The Bill provides that he or she will be appointed by the mayor from the ranks of the assembly. That muddies the waters.

One of the more interesting experiments being conducted under the Bill is that, for the first time in the United Kingdom, the powers of the Executive are separated from those of the legislature. That is a huge change in our constitution and a principle that deserves the closest possible scrutiny. The separation of powers must be a true separation and be properly defined.

Elections will take place and party candidates for the assembly will campaign on their own manifesto, which may differ in many respects from that of the mayor. The mayor will have his mandate and policies, and the power to implement them. The assembly's role is to scrutinise the exercise of that power and, to the limited extent permitted under the Bill, to support the mayor or exercise a check on matters with which it disagrees. Those checks and balances are an essential ingredient of the separation of powers.

We, and constitutionists throughout the country, will watch closely to see how the division of power works. We shall want to see whether such a model may be more widely introduced. It is extremely important for that reason alone. However, the provisions of clause 41--that the deputy mayor will be chosen from the ranks of the assembly--muddy the water and put the deputy mayor in a position of fundamental conflict. On the one hand, he will be obliged to scrutinise the mayor's activities and, on the other, he will be expected to be loyal to the mayor in the performance of his executive powers. He cannot be expected to perform an executive function while turning around and assessing or commenting on his own performance.

I anticipate that the Minister will say that the position of deputy mayor will be no different from his position as a Minister in the House of Commons. However, there is all the difference in the world. The Minister's boss is the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister appoints him, and he reports to the Prime Minister through his Secretary of State. The Minister was elected on the same manifesto as the Prime Minister. His mandate is no lesser or greater than the Prime Minister's, and the Prime Minister derives his authority not only from his party, but from the House. Under the strict constitutional definition of the post of Prime Minister, he is the man who can command a majority in the House of Commons.

The mayor of London will have his own mandate and his own executive powers, and he will derive no authority from the assembly. The very point of the assembly is to keep the mayor in check and to scrutinise the mayor, so the potential for conflict is clear. It is not possible to straddle the gap between the two. The power to appoint

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the deputy mayor from the assembly gives the mayor unacceptable patronage. Every member of the ruling coalition will know that the deputy mayor can be sacked at the mayor's whim, and any one of them could take his place. In an assembly in which only 13 votes make up a majority, it would be pretty easy to keep those members in line, because they would live in hope of becoming deputy mayor.

Our second reason for opposing the Government's proposals is that, as the deputy mayor will perform many of the mayor's functions, the public should know at the time of the election who the deputy mayor will be. We believe that he should run on a joint ticket with the candidate for mayor, so that it would be clear to all voters who he is, what his background is and what skills he would bring to the job. That would make the process clear, transparent and accountable.

That leads me to my third point. Our amendments would enable a business man to bring his commercial skills to the authority. Much has been made of the possibility of a business man running for the post of mayor. I have spoken to a number of business men about that in the past six months, but most of them shy away from the suggestion. The reason is clear. Believe it or not, to be a politician requires certain skills. They are not normal skills associated with normal behaviour, and some people find them easier than others. Such people are rarely business men. Many politicians have no business skills. We propose a formula that would allow an experienced politician to run as mayor with a business man as his deputy. There may be other combinations, but that would be a sensible package for any party to put forward. They would complement each other in a way that would benefit the authority and London as a whole.

There are two lesser reasons for the separation of roles, which are none the less relevant. First, members of the assembly will be busy enough without one of them having to take on the extra duties of deputy mayor. Pressures on the mayor and his deputy will be substantial. The deputy mayor will have little time to perform his role as an assembly man as well. Secondly, under our proposals, in the event of the mayor's incapacity, the deputy mayor would become the mayor, having already been endorsed by the public. To us, that is a particularly important point.

When the new authority is established, the pressure on the mayor and the mayor's office will be enormous. The Government are falling into the trap of making Londoners believe that the mayor will be the be-all and end-all of their problems. The pressure on him will be substantial, and the role of deputy mayor will be equally important. He will be a buffer, a voice, a wielder of executive power, and he should be independent of those whose job it is to scrutinise his role.

Those who have thought about how the mayor will operate will realise that there is merit in the amendments. I urge the Government to give them serious consideration.

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