Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Goodbye and farewell to another stupid Conservative idea...

Baroness Scott of Needham Market
Lord Tope
Lord Jenkin of Roding
Lord Beecham

57       Page 210, line 27, leave out from beginning to end of line 39 on page 212

Doesn't look like much, does it? However, the effect is wonderfully satisfying for those who have the interests of local government at heart, and the rather ecumenical nature of the proposers (one Labour, two Liberal Democrat and one Conservative) makes it all the more curious.

In one fell swoop, the amendment removes the proposal that elected mayors could become the chief executive officer, as well as much of the rubbish that gives him/her powers that would make the rest of your elected representatives pretty well redundant.

And, like all of the best amendments, it won't even get debated. Baroness Hanham, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government, said yesterday, in the early stages of the first day of the Committee Stage;

"At Second Reading I indicated that we would listen to noble Lords' concerns about shadow mayors and mayors as chief executives. We are keen to build on the common ground and consensus that the Bill has enjoyed. I should therefore like to say at this stage that when we reach the debate on mayoral provisions, the Government will be pleased to support amendments that have the effect of deleting from the Bill mayoral management arrangements; that is, mayors as chief executives and the concept of shadow mayors. In more detail, this means that we will delete mayoral management arrangements and we will be supporting Amendment 57 in the names of my noble friends Lord Jenkin of Roding, Lord Tope, Lady Scott of Needham Market and the noble Lord, Lord Beecham. We will also be supporting Amendments 62A, 66A, 84E, 87A to 87D, 108A and 187 in the names of my noble friends Lord True and Lord Howard of Rising, which complete the changes needed to delete mayoral management arrangements."

So, no more shadow mayors either, another one of those absurd suggestions designed to (effectively) keep the question of an elected mayor on the agenda regardless of the lack of enthusiasm from all but those who aspire to be the elected mayor.

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