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New Clause 21 — Tax

Part of Road Safety – in the House of Commons at 2:15 pm on 18th May 2011.

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Photo of Bob Neill Bob Neill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 2:15 pm, 18th May 2011

I am sorry, but the right hon. Gentleman has been consistently wrong on this point. If he will forgive my saying so, I know that he is offended when somebody comes up with an idea in London governance which is not his own. With respect to him, as he has considerable experience in this field, his solution to the risk, which I do accept, that a Mayor might seek to set up a rogue or an unacceptable development corporation was, in effect, to give the Secretary of State the veto—in other words, instead of saying, as the Bill does, that the Secretary of State “must” approve the proposal, that he “may” approve a policy, and that the veto would rest with a Minister. That was a highly centralising means of resolving the problem. Instead, the Government have trusted the elected representatives of London and said that the assembly, through qualified majority voting, may exercise the veto. That is much more consistent with the localist thrust of the Bill, and I would have thought it was closer to what the right hon. Gentleman, who after all introduced devolution in London, would himself wish to see.