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Parliament: London mayor poll plea

CANDIDATES FOR next year's mayor of London election should be allowed to run with a deputy on a US-style joint ticket, the Conservative Party urged yesterday.

A Conservative amendment to the Greater London Authority Bill proposes that the deputy mayor must be directly elected, like the mayor, by the capital's five million voters.

The Bill, which receives its committee stage next week, currently states that the deputy will be drawn from the 25-strong assembly after the elections in May next year. The deputy will have wide-ranging powers as he or she will chair the new Metropolitan Police Authority and may stand in for the mayor in emergencies.

But Richard Ottaway, the shadow Minister for London, said the Government's proposals would create a conflict of interest between the deputy's loyalty to the mayor and his duty to the assembly.