Using powers in Parliament

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 11th August 2021.

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Photo of Siân Berry Siân Berry Green

Are you planning to use your powers in the Greater London Authority Act to promote, oppose or request provisions in bills in Parliament during this term?

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Since first being elected, I have been working hard to represent Londoners’ views and Londoners’ interests when engaging with Government legislation. We have yet to see the detail of all the Bills announced in this year’s Queen’s Speech, but I will carefully consider their potential impact on London and Londoners when they are published. Important Bills on the environment and on policing, crime, sentencing and courts were carried over from the last session of Parliament and I will continue to engage with the Government and Parliament on these. This includes meeting with the relevant Secretaries of States as they progress in this new session and having my team brief parliamentarians on the key issues for London as important debates and votes approach. My team will, of course, also study carefully the detail and implications of other legislation as it is brought forward by the Government.

The Government’s programme includes a commitment to refresh, for example, its draft Violence Against Women and Girls strategy. The Queen’s Speech also includes a commitment to a Levelling Up White Paper, which is now due later this year, replacing the Devolution White Paper that was in the manifesto. If the Government approaches this in a way that is right for the citizens and regions across the country, this has the potential to be a really important piece of work. I will work alongside the nation’s metro mayors in engaging with the Government. The GLA has not introduced any Private Bills since the GLA was establishing using the GLA Act, but I am passionate about ensuring that London plays its part in the national recovery effort and I will work with the Government where I can through its legislative programme.

Photo of Siân Berry Siân Berry Green

Thank you very much, Mr Mayor. I am asking about these powers that we have to bring our own Bills in Parliament because, as you know - we have discussed it before - I do not think we think enough about how to use them. I think there is a risk that if we do not use them, like you said, we might lose them. That is the risk with all powers. I think if we have these powers, we should at least have a team working on ideas and getting them ready. I want to also point out that this is a joint power of the GLA as a whole, and the Act specifies the Assembly should be involved in working with you on these. It would be great if we had a team working on this together, coming up with ideas that are cross-party. Because a cross-party voice is the most powerful voice when we all agree on things.

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Yes, Chair, I do not want to dampen the spirits of the Member, but I have looked at the Act and to get a Bill through is almost impossible. It is almost as if it is designed that way.

Photo of Siân Berry Siân Berry Green

We have to get 90% of [London] councils to agree with us, I think.

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

Have you met the councillors recently? Love them as I do, Chair, I hasten to add. Then you have got a situation in relation to the hoops you have got to go through in Parliament to get one through. I have also looked at what the limitations are of any Bill that would get the assent of Parliament. We have got to make sure we are not taking away any powers of Government and so forth. If you have got any ideas that you think would overcome all those hurdles and the hoops, I’d be more than happy.

Photo of Siân Berry Siân Berry Green

Yes. This is my call really, and I am about to run out of time, but essentially we should be thinking about it. I am glad you are looking at the Act, but I think we should be looking at it together and trying to think creatively about what things we might agree on and which could get the agreement of councils in that way, so hopefully we can do something.