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Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I commend noble Lords on the Liberal Democrat and Conservative Benches for their honesty in agreeing that the amendments are similar and for the way in which they have constructed an agreement between themselves. That seems very laudable.

The Government resisted similar amendments at Committee and Report stages in another place and in Committee in this House. While I applaud the tenacity of noble Lords, the Government will continue to resist the amendments for the same reasons. Amendments Nos. 536ZA and 536ZZA are another attempt to extend the powers of the assembly at the expense of the mayor. We have rehearsed again and again the arguments for striking the balance we have between the mayor and the assembly.

The power of appointment is crucial to the mayor's ability to take a high-level and strategic interest in the MPA's efforts to tackle crime and maintain an

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efficient and effective policing service in London. Moreover, the role is consistent with the mayor's powers of appointment to the three other functional bodies. On the grounds of consistency and the need to have a high-level strategic interest, we must resist the amendments. We do not want any dilution of the mayor's power in that respect.

The mayor's power of appointment is of course subject to the requirement that he or she shall ensure that, so far as is practicable, his or her appointments reflect the balance of the parties on the assembly. Although, subject to that constraint, decisions on appointment are for the mayor, we would expect him or her to take account of views expressed by the parties represented on the assembly as to which of their number would be most suited to being on the MPA. For those reasons, I suggest that both noble Lords should feel able to withdraw their amendments.

Lord Tope: My Lords, I cannot say that I am surprised at that reply. Although I had no higher expectations, I am slightly disappointed. I can reassure the Minister that it did not take very much collusion between the two Opposition Front Benches. We have been agreed on this point throughout--the only difference between us was a minor one regarding the use of language. This amendment does not relate so much to the strategic role of the mayor, but more to control by the mayor.

I believe that we are making a big mistake. The 12 assembly members appointed by the mayor and answerable to him or her will soon find themselves in great difficulty with their 13 colleagues who will not be members of the Metropolitan Police Authority. However, I shall not press the matter further. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 536YZA to 536ZA not moved.]

The Chairman of Committees: My Lords, in calling Amendment No. 536ZAA, I must point out to the House that, if it is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 536A.

Lord Tope moved Amendment No. 536ZAA:

Page 304, line 8, leave out sub-paragraph (2).

The noble Lord said: My Lords, with this amendment we turn specifically to the requirement that the deputy mayor "must" be a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority. I accept that if nearly half the members of the assembly are to be members of the Metropolitan Police Authority, it is entirely possible, indeed probable, that the deputy mayor may well be one of them. Our difficulty relates to the requirement in the Bill that the deputy mayor "must" be a member of the police authority.

I fail to understand, even after our debate in Committee, why the Government have singled out this particular functional body, important though it is--no one questions that--to require the deputy mayor to be a member. He or she may be better suited by qualification, experience or interest to membership of

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one of the other functional bodies, and some other equally important senior member of the assembly could fulfil that function for the mayor. The deputy mayor will of course be a key member of the mayor's cabinet. But that role can be filled by other members of the mayor's cabinet who are also assembly members.

Our key point is not so much that the deputy mayor should not be a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, but the requirement that he or she must be. Why has the MPA been singled out for particular attention in that regard as distinct from any other functional body to which the deputy mayor may be better suited? I beg to move.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: My Lords, here is another oddity. Why should the deputy mayor automatically be a member of the police authority? We have argued the point in Committee. As the noble Lord has suggested, it might be better in the mayor's view to put another member in place of the deputy mayor and to give other responsibilities to the individual in question.

Perhaps the case of Mr Philips throws some light on the matter. Further information has reached me that Mr Philips has been promised that he will be deputy mayor, and indeed chairman of the police authority. If he believes that, he should consult paragraph 6 of Schedule 21. As the Bill stands, the paragraph makes it clear that it is for the authority to appoint the chairman, not for anyone else to do so. Not even the new mayor can promise that to any individual.

Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare: My Lords, it may be wise to suggest to my noble friend that it would be even better for the Labour Party to find out who their candidate is before stating who will be deputy mayor.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: My Lords, that would be a very good idea--and we all know a good deal about how they are setting about that effort. It seems a very peculiar way to set about it. However, I shall not go into that at present.

As I said, it is an oddity that the deputy mayor should automatically be a member of the police authority. Those with suspicious minds will wonder how the provision has come about and why it is necessary to include it. I do not have a suspicious mind, but I do wonder.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, it is probably wise to avoid speculation about mayoral candidates at this stage.

In responding to this amendment, perhaps I may speak first to the two government amendments which clarify a couple of matters regarding the position of the deputy mayor on the Metropolitan Police Authority.

Amendment No. 536K provides that the deputy mayor will cease to be a member of the MPA if he or she ceases to be deputy mayor. The Bill already makes specific provision as to what should happen when the

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deputy mayor acts as the mayor. In such cases he or she will sometimes be required to step down temporarily from the MPA.

However, as the noble Lord, Lord Cope of Berkeley, correctly pointed out in Committee, the Bill as it stands is silent on what should happen if the deputy mayor ceases to be the deputy--for example, following a resignation. I am grateful to the noble Lord for pointing out the omission.

This amendment rectifies that gap--so there is success for the noble Lord there. Since the deputy will have his or her place by virtue of that office, we believe it right that that individual should be required to step down as a member on losing that office. Equally, provided that he or she remains an assembly member, there is no reason why he or she should not remain eligible for reappointment to the MPA in his or her capacity as an assembly member. That will be possible by virtue of paragraph 18 of Schedule 21.

Amendment No. 536A makes clear that the deputy mayor will be subject to the disqualification criteria for MPA membership as set out in paragraph 8 of Schedule 21. These cover standard disqualification issues, such as bankruptcy and criminal convictions. They are very similar to those which Clause 20 of the Bill applies to assembly members--and hence to the deputy mayor.

I turn now to the opposition amendment which would remove the requirement that one of the 12 assembly members of the MPA be the deputy mayor. Various arguments have been advanced as to why it is unnecessary to tie the hands of the mayor and require him or her to appoint the deputy mayor. As my noble and learned friend Lord Williams of Mostyn said in a previous debate, our reasoning on this subject is clear. The deputy mayor will be a key player in the assembly and in the mayor's cabinet. We want the deputy to be on the MPA to provide a link between the mayor and that body. We believe that such an arrangement provides the right balance for the oversight of policing in London. It gives the mayor an appropriate means of influencing the thinking of the MPA in the way it exercises its responsibilities of maintaining an efficient and effective police force in the Metropolitan Police District. We believe policing to be that important.

This argument will, I know, sound familiar to your Lordships' House. But in the many debates that we have had on this subject during the passage of the Bill, we have remained of the view that the argument is sound and that the Bill should be left as it stands.

It may be helpful if I add a further point. In the debate that we have just had on the appointment of assembly members I referred to the party political balance requirement to which the mayor is subject. In case there is any doubt, I should make clear that the appointment of the deputy mayor is included within the overall balancing equation--it is not the case that the balance applies only to the other 11 appointments, with the deputy then added. That could lead to

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unfairness, and is not the way the Bill operates. I invite the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment and I commend the two government amendments.

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