Labour `out to shackle mayor'
Tuesday 15 December 1998
Tories and Liberal Democrats said parts of the Bill would give sweeping powers to John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Environment.
More than 250 clauses in the proposed legislation were designed to prevent an independent-minded mayor such as Ken Livingstone from carrying out radical policies, they said.
Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat MP, who used the Commons debate to declare that he would stand for mayor, said the Bill would give Mr Prescott "Henry VIII"-style control over the new Greater London Authority (GLA).
Fears that Mr Livingstone, MP for Brent East, might seek to turn the mayoralty into a new power base had led to the creation of the clauses designed severely to restrict its remit, said Mr Hughes.
One key section would allow the Environment Secretary to take from the mayor the proceeds of proposed "congestion charges" on London's roads.
Although the Government said that it would protect such proceeds for the first 10 years of the GLA, Mr Hughes pointed out that the Bill gave it the power to rescind the promise.
Other "Livingstone clauses" meant that the mayor would have to devise strategies in line with national policies and that the Environment Secretary could severely restrict mayoral spending.
Opening debate on the second reading of the Bill, Mr Prescott said the GLA would bring back the first city-wide administration since abolition of the Greater London Council in 1986 - providing badly needed accountability and leadership
He said: "It will strip away the shadowy committees, the burgeoning bureaucracies and quangos created by our predecessors and give Londoners back their voice."
The new authority would have "tremendous power and responsibility", and its relationship with the Environment Secretary would resemble the present relationship between central and local government.
The GLA would control a budget worth several billion pounds, have strategic powers over transport and economic development and would oversee a new, democratically accountable police authority.
He added: "The next stage of devolution, if you like, might and would hopefully be towards regional government."
Threat of 'catastrophic cascade of collisions' must be averted, warn scientists
Oxford is the least affordable city in the UK, where houses cost 11 times local salaries
Wellcome Image Awards: The most striking images from the world of science, including breast cancer cells under chemical attack and a photographer’s own kidney stone
Space debris orbiting Earth to be destroyed with giant lasers fired from Australia
Swarm of killer bees sting woman 1,000 times
Oscar Pistorius murder trial: Athlete repeatedly sick as court hears 'graphic details' of Reeva Steenkamp's post-mortem
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 2 North Korea elections: Kim Jong-un wins 100% of the vote
- 3 David Cameron resorts to paying for Facebook fans because not enough people like him
- 4 Steve Irwin’s final words: Cameraman present at death opens up about deadly stingray attack for the first time
- 5 Sharknado 2: Former WWE wrestler Kurt Angle to fight second wave of flying sharks
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Our client is a leading digital agency bu...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Charter Selection: Global leader in its respective ...
£130 - £161 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Do you have a qualificatio...
£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: The school is much la...