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Lord Tope: I shall give the noble Lord a little more time to think of those circumstances. It may very well be that, given that nearly half the members of the assembly will be on the police authority, one of them will be the deputy mayor. I do not understand why it must be the deputy mayor. As the noble Lord, Lord Cope of Berkeley, has already said, there may be other very important responsibilities which the deputy mayor undertakes as regards the various other functional bodies. Why does it have to be the police authority? Why cannot it be another important member of the assembly who fulfils the role? That is the point that we are trying to make. It is not that the deputy mayor is not important or that appointment to the police authority is not important; but why does it have to be prescribed that one of the 12 has to be the deputy mayor? If he is much better informed, suited and experienced in another important aspect of the GLA's work, why should not the deputy mayor play an equally important role in the area for which he or she is better qualified? That is the point that we are trying to make. I hope that by now the noble Lord, Lord Cope, has thought of many possibilities that may arise.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: The noble Lord, Lord Tope, has expressed the matter more eloquently than I; I seem to have failed to put over my point. The situation where the deputy mayor may not be on the police authority may arise in two different ways. First, the mayor may consider that it would be more appropriate for the deputy mayor to spend most of his time working on some of the other responsibilities. In that case, it may be better for the deputy mayor not to be on the police authority so that he can devote his time to the other responsibilities that the mayor wishes him to have.

Secondly, it may well be that another member of the assembly should be the principal man or woman on the police authority because of his or her past experience, training or qualities. Therefore, it may be unnecessary

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to appoint the deputy mayor because someone else can fill the role of being the important principal link between the mayor and the police authority. I do not know whether the Minister wants to contribute further to the debate. I gather not. In that case, no doubt the debate will continue on another occasion. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment Nos. 354H to 354ZL not moved.]

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 354L:

Page 278, line 16, at end insert--
("3A. The members of the Metropolitan Police Authority shall exercise their powers to appoint members under paragraph 3(3)(a) so as to ensure that, so far as is practicable, where members for whose appointments they are responsible are members of political parties, their numbers reflect the balance of parties for the time being prevailing among members of the London Assembly.").

The noble Lord said: I signalled earlier that I understood that the Liberal Democrats were going to suggest that the Secretary of State should not have the power to appoint, but evidently they have changed their minds. They are extremely wise to do so otherwise I should have been obliged to support the Government, not that I mind doing so occasionally.

Amendments Nos. 354L and 354M both seek to ensure that as far as possible the party balance is still maintained. There will also be seven members who will be voted on to the authority by the main members of the authority and four from among the magistrates. I do not seek to suggest--and the amendment is careful in this respect--that everyone who finds a place on the authority in that way should belong to a political party or should have to identify or express their preferences in terms of the parties that they support. However, where those individuals who serve on the authority belong to a political party, an effort should be made among them to ensure that the party balance is maintained.

I hope that many, if not all, of the independent members may be what in your Lordships' House are called Cross-Benchers, independent members belonging to no party at all. In so far as some of them may not be Cross-Benchers, I believe that the party balance should be reflected. These two amendments provide for that in respect of the two categories of members other than the members drawn from the assembly.

It would be wrong to exclude from appointment those who belong to parties. Similarly it would be wrong to exclude from appointment those who choose not to belong to any political party. If political party members are appointed to the authority, that should not upset the party balance. I beg to move.

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: Before the Minister replies, I am bound to say that I find these two amendments quite disturbing. I have a small acquaintance with the police authority in the county where I was a county councillor. To return to our old argument, when that police authority was set up it was universally agreed that one of the county councillors representing us should be the former chairman of the

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police authority, who was immensely knowledgeable. When the county council took the decision to appoint him as a member, his party affiliation was totally unimportant. Subsequently, he chaired that police authority with great distinction.

Turning to the independent members and the members chosen by the magistrates, I am quite astounded to hear the noble Lord say that their political affiliation should have any consideration. The Secretary of State will nominate a panel from which, if I understand the Bill aright, the other members will appoint the independent members. The Secretary of State, in creating that panel, will conduct a great deal of careful research. Quite a complicated form has to be filled in for that purpose. The Secretary of State, or someone on his behalf, will have satisfied himself that the person appointed, whether or not he or she has a political affiliation, is capable of acting with independence on the police authority.

I know a lot of magistrates and sometimes I can guess what their political affiliations may be. One or two of them occasionally confess into my ear what that affiliation is, but I have never heard them behave as though they belonged to a political party on, for example, the probation committee, of which I am a member. I am sure that the tradition of magistracy-- I hope that it is as strong in London as elsewhere--would not favour a party political approach on behalf of magistrates. I would rather leave such matters to good sense and the general assumption that there are some people on bodies who can behave in a non-party political manner so that they make sure that we have the right people serving on the Metropolitan Police Authority.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: No magistrate has ever confessed to me the shame of being a Liberal Democrat!

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood: I do not know why the Minister suggests that it is only those in sympathy with my particular orientation whose affiliation I have occasionally been able to adduce!

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The points made by the noble Baroness are overwhelming. The function of the independent members and the magistrate members, as she says, is precisely to be independent, bringing qualities and skills which are not dependent upon and are not generated by membership of a political party. It will be difficult enough to obtain the correct balance of skills, age, ethnic background and gender without introducing politics into the equation.

Outside London, independent member appointments are not dependent upon political allegiance or political parties. If one went the way that the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Cope, indicates, the result may be a membership, as indicated by the noble Baroness, consisting mainly of politically minded people. We do not want that for a body of this sensitivity.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: I have expressed my view on this subject, but it has not found favour. I seek leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 354M not moved.]

Schedule 21 agreed to.

Clauses 244 to 247 agreed to.

Clause 248 [Appointment of Commissioner]:

7.15 p.m.

Lord Tope moved Amendment No. 354MVA:

Page 135, leave out lines 3 to 19 and insert--
("(2) Any appointment of a Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis shall be made by the Metropolitan Police Authority.
(3) A person appointed as Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis shall hold office until such time as the Assembly shall decide otherwise by two thirds majority on receiving a request from the Metropolitan Police Authority.
(4) Any appointment of a Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis shall be subject to regulations under section 50.").

The noble Lord said: I rise to move Amendment No. 354MVA standing in my name and those of my noble friends. I shall also speak to Amendments Nos. 354MWA and 354MXA.

These amendments concern the appointments of a commissioner and a deputy commissioner. They propose that those appointments should be made by the Metropolitan Police Authority rather than, as proposed in the Bill, by the Queen acting on the recommendation of the Secretary of State. It also provides for the removal by a two-thirds majority of a commissioner so appointed. Amendment No. 354MWA prescribes that if we do not succeed in that, the London assembly should also have the opportunity, indeed the right, to make representations to the Secretary of State on the appointment of the commissioner.

These amendments are in line with the recommendations of the Macpherson report on the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, which recommended that all chief officer appointments in the Metropolitan Police service should be made by the authority. The Government have accepted those recommendations, except in relation to the commissioner and deputy commissioner. I believe it is the view of the Government--as we shall hear shortly--that, because of the particular nature of the Metropolitan Police service, its national and international functions, and status--if that is the right word--of the commissioner and deputy commissioner being higher than that of the Chief Constable, the Secretary of State should continue to play a more active role.

We feel that is the wrong way round. We are appointing a Metropolitan Police Authority responsible for the Metropolitan Police service, and the Macpherson report was right to recommend that the commissioner and deputy commissioner should be appointed by the authority. I am sure that in making such an appointment they would wish to pay due regard to the views of the Secretary of State. If we are to have an authority, it seems right and proper to us--we agree with Macpherson--that that authority should have the responsibility of appointing the two senior posts that will report to them.

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The Government, in their response to the Macpherson report, have simply commented that those appointments will remain royal appointments. They have not said why. My question is not intended, in any sense, to be anti-royalist or anti-monarchist. I do not understand, and I hope that the Minister will explain, why the appointment has to be a royal appointment, even if the Home Secretary is to retain, in effect, the power to appoint, or certainly the power to nominate the appointment. Perhaps there is a simple explanation that has escaped me. I shall be pleased to hear the Minister's reply.

However, I return to our principal point; namely, that now we are to have a fully-fledged Metropolitan Police Authority it should have the power, after consulting appropriately, to appoint--and, for that matter, dismiss--the two senior officers of the Metropolitan Police Service. I beg to move.

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