System for ousting mayor is backed by peers

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Indy Politics

THE GOVERNMENT was defeated in the Lords last night as peers backed a move to allow the new London Assembly to remove the capital's directly elected mayor if it deemed his or her conduct unacceptable.

THE GOVERNMENT was defeated in the Lords last night as peers backed a move to allow the new London Assembly to remove the capital's directly elected mayor if it deemed his or her conduct unacceptable.

A Liberal Democrat amendment to the Greater London Authority Bill was approved by 213 votes to 117, majority 96, during detailed report stage debate. It would allow the impeachment of the Mayor of London where 19 out of 25 assembly members agreed on a vote of no-confidence.

The Government defeat came after Tory peers earlier threatened to "down tools" in a row over late-night sittings to consider masses of amendments to legislation since they returned on Monday from the summer recess.

Introducing the successful amendment, Baroness Hamwee, a Liberal Democrat, said it was conceivable a mayor could lose the confidence of the assembly and of Londoners during their term in office.

She said the Bill, which establishes the Mayor and assembly, contained no provisions to remove a mayor from office unless their behaviour was illegal. But there were circumstances where the Mayor's behaviour could be deemed unacceptable for the office.

Lady Hamwee said: "We believe a politician's private life should remain private but the mayor is going to be a job about big personalities and, as such, their conduct is going to be relevant." She said other countries and constitutions had impeachment processes.

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