Schedule 2 — Repeals

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 9:43 pm on 27th February 2007.

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Photo of Andrew Pelling Andrew Pelling Conservative, Croydon Central 9:43 pm, 27th February 2007

We have seen very little in the way of change during the process that has got the Bill to this stage. On Second Reading, I expressed great concern that this pusillanimous piece of legislation, which shows no confidence in London's governance and offers very little in terms of any kind of devolutionary settlement, does not go far enough. That is why we will vote with enthusiasm against this legislation, as it shows no confidence in Londoners, London or its governance.

We made radical proposals for devolution in London. We suggested that, instead of quangos that are remote from the people of London, the Mayor should be the health authority. We suggested that there should be real and direct accountability on policing by making the Mayor the police authority and by making him directly accountable through questions from the assembly rather than the current ridiculously diffused process of accountability within London's policing, which involves the Metropolitan Police Authority, the Metropolitan Police Service, the assembly budget committee, the Mayor and the Home Secretary.

Although it is not directly part of the Bill, we have also been most concerned about the way in which the Government have failed to have the self-confidence to give real power to the Mayor on the important issue of skills training. When there is such a huge level of worklessness in the London economy and when so many people are not properly trained to take advantage of one of the strongest periods of economic growth in London's history, it is an indictment of the way in which the learning and skills councils have operated in London. The Government should have had the self-confidence to provide those powers to the Mayor in other legislation. Instead, powers are being taken up from a local level. Many local authorities are positive about providing for extra housing, for example.