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During the Recess there were further discussions on this issue, and a very helpful letter to the City from the noble Baroness, Lady Andrews, further clarified the Governments thinking on the powers available to the City under the Museum of London Act 1965. On behalf of the City, I thank her for that clarification. I shall read the two key paragraphs of that letter, dated 20 September, into the record:
Under that Act, the City Corporation has power of approval over the Museums expenditure; any acquisition of land by the Museum; the number, terms and conditions of all its employees and officers; and the appointment of its Director. In the exercise of these powers, the City may require the Museum to report to it and provide it with full information on matters relevant to its decisions.
The next paragraph is really important:
None of this will change as a result of the GLA Bill. The City will still be wholly entitled to require the Museum to report to them on its expenditure and activities as a condition of sponsorship. We do not agree that the London Assemblys power to summon representatives of bodies to whom the GLA has given a grant places the Assembly at any advantage in terms of scrutiny of the Museum in comparison with the City.
Nothing could be clearer than that. It would be very helpful if the noble Baroness, Lady Morgan, could confirm from the Dispatch Box, and thus place it firmly on the record, that that remains the Governments position. The thing will then be clear.
I will also press the Minister on two further points. They arose from the comments that she made in
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Can the Minister confirm that this means that the City could subject the museum to the same requirements as the Greater London Authority may applythat is, to require the governors or staff to attend a meeting, to give evidence or to produce documents?
The Minister also referred on Report to the ability of the City and the Greater London Authority to agree joint scrutiny arrangements, and expressed the hope that they would do so. From this Back Bench, I express the same hope that that might be possible. I would be most grateful if the Minister could confirm that in the Governments view the GLA Act 1999 enables the Assembly to sit together with the City in a scrutiny session if the parties so choose. I mention those two points because some doubts have been expressed to me about the legal position, and I would very much welcome the Ministers observations on them. I beg to move.
Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My Lords, as on the last occasion when we debated the subject of this amendment, I declare a non-financial interest as a former Member of Parliament for the City of London. My noble friend Lord Jenkin has most effectively drawn attention to a number of important issues during the consideration of this Bill by your Lordships House. The continued independence of the Museum of London, as he said a moment ago, and in consequence the need for equidistance between the museums two sponsors in the future oversight arrangements are certainly of importance. Those of your Lordships who know the museum will need no convincing of its value to London and indeed to the community as a whole.
As my noble friend Lord Jenkin said, this Bill repeals Section 5 of the Museum of London Act 1965, which provides oversight by Parliament. Ultimately, that section made the museum susceptible to scrutiny through the Public Accounts Committee. As your Lordships know, that is a House of Commons cross-party forum where officials are questioned on the public expenditure of the bodies for which they are responsible. It is, if I may put it this way, an on the merits forum. It is important that future arrangements proceed on the same basis. Like my noble friend, I welcome the progress that has been made in seeking to resolve this matter.
I will raise one point with the Minister by way of follow-up to what my noble friend has said. Under the legislation as it will be when the Bill is enacted, the City and the GLA will, albeit as a result of different legislative provisions applying to each, have similar powers of oversight of the museum. That is clearly the Governments intention and is, I believe, a common goal shared by all. IfI repeat, iffor any reason the arrangements were found to require refinement, could the Minister indicate her preparedness to review them in the light of
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Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: My Lords, I thank the noble Lords, Lord Jenkin and Lord Brooke, for tabling the amendment and giving me the opportunity to give further assurances to the House on the future governance of the museum and to clarify matters furtherwhich is wholly appropriate at Third Reading. I know that the noble Lords have a number of concerns on this issue. I am glad that they feel that progress has been made during the summer and I hope that I can offer the assurances that they require.
The Government intend to resist the amendment, as it is not necessary. The terms in which the Bill amends the Museum of London Acts 1965 and 1986 are very specific and clearly set out. For the most part, the Bill merely amends the 1965 Act to replace references to the Secretary of State with the GLA, and makes other changes consequential to this transfer of responsibility.
As we have made clear during the passage of the Bill, it does not give the Mayor and the GLA any greater power in respect of the Museum of London than the Government currently have under the 1965 Act. I emphasise that this Bill does not take away any of the rights, powers and responsibilities which the City of London Corporation and the Museum of London board of governors have under the 1965 Act.
I assure noble Lords that the City corporations major powers of control and scrutiny in relation to the Museum of London are unaffected by the Bill. I make specific reference to scrutiny because, as noble Lords have said, there are concerns that the powers available to the City corporation may not be sufficient to enable it to scrutinise the Museum of London, particularly as the London Assembly will have powers to do so under the Greater London Authority Act 1999. Under the Museum of London Act 1965, as noble Lords have said, the City corporation has major powers of approval over the museums expenditure, any acquisition of land by the museum, the terms and conditions of its employees and officers, how many employees and officers the museum is to have, and over the appointment of the director.
In the exercise of these powers, and as a condition of its financial support, the City corporation is wholly entitled to require the governors and senior staff of the Museum of London to report to it and provide it with full information on matters relevant to its decisions. There is nothing in the Museum of London Acts to prevent the City corporation from doing thisI am happy to put that point on record. These powers, therefore, enable the City corporation to scrutinise the activities of the museum, just as the London Assembly will have powers to scrutinise the museum. None of these powers is affected by this Bill.
The 1965 Act is quite clear in setting out the functions and powers of the board of governors of the Museum of London in relation to its operations. These include all matters relating to the care and
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I should also point out that Mayor Livingstone has given an undertaking that his appointments to the Museum of London board of governors will be made according to the Nolan principles, with an independent element in the appointments process, and that posts will be openly advertised. There is, therefore, no reason to believe that members of the museums board appointed by the Mayor will be any less able, independent-minded or committed to the core purposes of the museum than are those currently appointed by the Prime Minister.
Finally, I restate the Governments belief that the City of London Corporation and the GLA will be able to work together effectively as co-sponsors of the Museum of London and that, as the noble Lord, Lord Brooke, said, they can establish a robust scrutiny regime for the museum. In fact, as I have said previously and as the noble Lord mentioned, there is nothing to prevent the City of London Corporation and the Assembly reaching an agreement to scrutinise the museum jointly, should they wish to do so. I believe that that would avoid the impression of a lopsided processa matter about which I think the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, is concerned.
Certainly, there is precedent for such arrangements. The Assembly and the boroughs worked together as the Commission on London Governance to scrutinise the delivery of public services in the capital. Whatever scrutiny regime is decided for the museum, we shall of course be interested to see how the new sponsorship arrangements work in practice when they have had time to bed down. I think that that picks up on the question raised by the noble Lord, Lord Brooke. If a review is called for by either of the co-sponsors, the Government will be happy to consider the need for reviewing the arrangement.
I hope that with that assurance and clarification I have been able to answer noble Lords important questions and that the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, will consider withdrawing his amendment.
Lord Jenkin of Roding: My Lords, I can do nothing but express my gratitude to the noble Baroness, Lady Morgan of Drefelin, for, once again, having put the matter clearly and emphatically in a way which I am sure will reassure those who have expressed anxiety in the past. I hope that she is right that there will be no need to revisit this matter and that the arrangements that have been made will work. Certainly, that would have my complete support. With that, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Schedule 1 [Confirmation hearings etc: Schedule 4A to the GLA Act 1999]:
Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 10:
( ) The Assembly may arrange under section 54(1)(a) of this Act for its functions under paragraph 6 above to be discharged on its behalf by a single member of the Assembly.
The noble Baroness said: My Lords, this amendment enables us to pick up language used a little earlier this afternoon to end todays proceedings on a note of amity and in partnership, which has characterised much of our debate on the Bill.
My amendment was tabled immediately after Report, when the Government indicated that they understood, and were sympathetic to, a rather mundane point: simply, to allow the chair of the Assembly to request a candidate who might be the subject of a confirmation hearing to produce documents. The Government have, in their turn, produced Amendments Nos. 11 and 12, which I welcome. I shall not of course press my amendment to a vote but it now enables the noble Baroness, Lady Morgan, to introduce the government amendments. For that purpose, I beg to move.
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: My Lords, government Amendments Nos. 11 and 12 seek to make it easier for the Assembly to fulfil its functions in the confirmation hearing process within the three-week period specified in Schedule 1. They amend paragraph 9 of the schedule to enable the Assembly to delegate to its chair the decision in paragraph 6(4) on whether to request documents from a candidate for a post subject to confirmation hearings.
These amendments respond to concerns raised on Report by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. She may say that it is a mundane point, but it is an important point which we have considered. We believe that delegating this function to the chair of the Assembly will provide more flexibility for the decision to be taken quickly. It should allow more time for the Assembly to focus on the hearing itself and to promptly make a recommendation to the Mayor.
Amendment No. 10, tabled by the noble Baroness and the noble Lord, Lord Tope, has a slightly different effect from the government amendments by enabling the Assembly to delegate its functions under paragraph 6 of Schedule 1 to any of its Members. I am resisting this amendment as I believe that it is more appropriate for the Assembly to delegate these functions specifically to its chair. In allowing the Assembly to delegate all its functions under paragraph 6, the Government are meeting the spirit and broad aims of the amendments, which I hope the noble Baroness will withdraw.
Before I sit down, perhaps I may say on behalf of my noble friend Lady Andrews a few words of thanks to noble Lords opposite for their spirit of great co-operation throughout the Bills passage. I also thank Members around the House for helping to make our debates so constructive. My noble friend and I particularly thank the Bill team for their expert help and advice throughout the Bills passage in your Lordships House.
Baroness Hanham: My Lords, we cannot allow thank yous to be one-sided. This Bill has been rather fun, and it has been fun basically because of
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Baroness Hamwee: My Lords, for the record I should add that the officers at the Greater London AuthorityI did not consult them on thishave been particularly grateful to the Bill team for their assistance. It has been a very open process and very much a model of how these things should go forward. In that spirit of amity, I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Baroness Andrews moved Amendments Nos. 11 and 12:
Schedule 1, page 59, line 31, after for insert any of the following functions to be discharged on its behalf by the Chair of the Assembly
On Question, amendments agreed to.
Baroness Andrews: My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass.
Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Bill passed, and returned to the Commons with amendments.
My Lords, before I call Amendment No. 1, may I point out that Amendment No. 1A is an amendment to Amendment No.1? That is not clear from the Marshalled List.
Baroness Hanham moved Amendment No. 1:
The noble Baroness said: My Lords, moving seamlessly on, as one does in this place, and in taking over the burden of this Bill from my noble friend Lady Anelay, I do so knowing that much of it has already been discussed. I have tabled these amendments, which were also moved in Committee, to give myself the opportunity of setting out the policies that we have supported on the proposed UK Border Police Force and to explain why we on these Benches do not believe that the Governments proposals come anywhere near close to meeting the challenges that need to be met.
The Prime Minister, at his partys conference, referred to the Governments intentions in this area. The little he said showed that the new unified border force is new only in uniform. We on these Benches welcome the increased pressure on the immigration agencies to make sure that their efforts are co-ordinated and co-operative, but I am concerned that the Government appear to rest this new initiative on the success of yet another government computer system. I am sure that there are enough examples of computer systems that have gone wrong for many in this House to share my trepidation.
As my noble friend Lady Anelay made clear in Committee, our proposals go much further than the Government are prepared to consider. We would, in essence, create a new, integrated, specialised police service, as has proved successful elsewhere. This is supported by both the previous and current commissioners of the Metropolitan Police and the Home Affairs Committee of another place. As the right honourable David Davis said at the Conservative Party conference, this would give the new force real power: power to stop, search, detain and prosecute not only illegal immigrants but also those who traffic people and those who wish to enter our country in order to attack it. What we have in mind would be a strong and effective measure. In comparison, the Governments proposals are timid, ineffective and most certainly insufficient to deal with the problem. That is the background. I beg to move.
Lord Avebury moved, as an amendment to Amendment No. 1, Amendment No. 1A:
The noble Lord said: My Lords, I hope that the House is not confused by the fact that the Marshalled List does not show Amendment No. 1A as an amendment to Amendment No. 1, just moved by the noble Baroness. That is apparently a simple clerical error, and I hope your Lordships will allow me to move this amendment.
First, I take the opportunity of welcoming the noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, to our proceedings. Her enormous powers will be fully challenged because she has come straight to the Bill from the legislation that she has just been dealing with so competentlyI listened to a few minutes of the debate on the Greater London Authority Bill. Knowing the competent and effective way in which she has always dealt with local government legislation, we will expect no less from her on the equally challenging areas of immigration, asylum and nationality, for which she has now inherited the mantle. That is not to say that we will not greatly miss the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, whose company we always enjoyed. We hope that we will see something of her from time to time, although we will, perhaps, not hear her speak from the Front Bench quite so much in view of her new duties.
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