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Lord Dahrendorf: My Lords, the last thing you want at this point is more speeches, but, in supporting the Motion That this Bill do now pass, I should like to say that this is a Bill of great constitutional significance, as important as the debates we had about devolution in the case of Scotland and Wales.
I believe that at this stage we should recognise the true import of the Bill which is put before us. It does mean that this great metropolis will in future have a government which is directly elected by the people and which combines an elected mayor with an authority in a way which I believe will give London the kind of future which London deserves. I, for one, am very pleased that the Government have insisted in putting
One can debate at length the fact that the mayor will not only have a telephone directory but will have a telephone directory-sized Act of Parliament to obey and look at at all points. However, in my view we are giving a crucial part of this great country--the metropolis of London--the government that it deserves. For that reason, I find it very easy indeed to support the Motion that the Bill do now pass.
Lord Whitty: My Lords, for the second and, I hope, the last time, I beg to move that the Bill do now pass. Normally I am under an injunction not to say too much at this stage, so I shall confine myself to making two points, one personal and one political.
First, we have spent many hours on the Bill. We listened to the arguments and we have improved its provisions. I regret the lateness of some of the procedures and I recognise that at various points that has inconvenienced several Members of the House. I thank all noble Lords for their patience and forbearance during the passage of the Bill. Had there not been such a spirit of co-operation between the parties, we might have encountered severe difficulties. In that respect, I give particular thanks to the spokespersons for the Opposition parties.
Secondly, my political point echoes very much the words of the noble Lord, Lord Dahrendorf. The passage of the Bill may at times have been a tedious and pernickety exercise, because the provisions are extremely complex. However, for the first time we have brought together in this city, a city in which I, along with the noble Baroness, have spent most of my life, powers over the police authority, transport, strategic planning and culture, building on a whole range of different law. Inevitably that has been a complex process. However, we have achieved it in a way that gives London a new start. The sharp political point to be made here is that we have done this a decade and a half after an act of sheer political vandalism robbed London of its strategic centre, an act which I believe we have all had cause to regret. The Bill represents a new start with a fairly broad base of political support, despite any reservations about the Bill.
Whoever wins the mayoralty of London, I believe that they now have a good base on which to build. This city deserves to have a good job done for it. The Bill lays strong foundations for the future of London government. Let us look to the future with the May 2000 elections when once again we shall have an authority that all Londoners deserve.
That the Promoters of the Baxi Partnership Limited Trusts Bill [Lords] shall have leave to suspend proceedings thereon in order to proceed with the Bill, if they think fit, in the next Session of Parliament, provided that the Agents for the Bill give notice to the Clerks in the Private Bill Office not later than the day before the close of the present Session of their intention to suspend further proceedings and that all Fees due on the Bill up to that date be paid;
That if the Bill is brought from the Lords in the next Session, the Agents for the Bill shall deposit in the Private Bill Office a declaration signed by them, stating that the Bill is the same, in every respect, as the Bill which was brought from the Lords in the present Session;That as soon as a certificate by one of the Clerks in the Private Bill Office that such a declaration has been so deposited has been laid upon the Table of the House, the Bill shall be read the first and second time and committed (and shall be recorded in the Journal of this House as having been so read and committed);
That, no Petitions against the Bill having been presented within the time limited during the present Session, no Petitioners shall be heard before any committee on the Bill save those who complain of any amendment as proposed in the filled up Bill or of any matter which arises during the progress of the Bill before the committee;
That the Promoters of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (Amendment of Rules) Bill shall have leave to suspend proceedings thereon in order to proceed with the Bill in the next Session of Parliament, provided that the Agents for the Bill give notice to the Clerks in the Private Bill Office not later than the day before the close of the present Session of their intention to suspend further proceedings and that all Fees due on the Bill up to that date be paid;
That there shall be deposited with the Bill a declaration signed by the Agents for the Bill, stating that the Bill is the same, in every respect, as the Bill at the last stage of its proceedings in this House in the present Session;
That the Bill shall be laid upon the Table of the House by one of the Clerks in the Private Bill Office on the next meeting of the House after the day on which the Bill has been presented and, when so laid, shall be read the first, second and third time and shall be recorded in the Journal of this House as having been so read;
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