Amendment 307A (to Amendment 307)

Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Report (8th Day) – in the House of Lords at 9:03 pm on 18 September 2023.

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Lord Bach:

Moved by Lord Bach

307A: In paragraph (fa), leave out “on” and insert “at the end of the period of nine months beginning with”

Photo of Lord Bach Lord Bach Labour

My Lords, I appreciate, of course, that these matters have already been debated on 13 July. However, because of the gap in time and, in my view, the considerable importance of the issues at stake, I intend to make a few short comments.

The Mayor of the West Midlands wants to also be the police and crime commissioner. Clause 59 was put into the Bill solely to achieve that end. Now, he wants to be the police and crime commissioner straight away—before the election, which is due on 2 May next year. Thus, government Amendment 307 says that Clause 59 must come into effect on the day on which this Act is passed. This is in marked contrast to Clause 58 and Clauses 60 to 62, which do not come into force until two months after the Act is passed.

Why the difference? The simple answer is so that the democratically elected and excellent police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands can be removed from office and the mayor take his place without any consultation. Clause 59 allows for no consultation, with either the constituent councils or the other local authorities involved. Again, this is in marked contrast to Clause 58, which demands consultation by statute.

However, with a cynicism not worthy of a British Government, the Minister, whom we wish well, was obliged to say on Report:

“Clause 59 maintains the triple-lock model … That triple lock is that … transfer … of powers needs local consent, the agreement of the Secretary of State and approval by Parliament”.

Of course, the Secretary of State agrees—he has been hand in glove cooking this up for months with the mayor—and of course Parliament does not vote against statutory instruments, but what does “local consent” mean? It beggars belief that “consent” means, in this case, the consent of the mayor, the very guy who wants the job straight away. Listen to the words of the Minister, who said,

“local consent will be given simply by the mayor”.—[Official Report, 13/7/23; col. 1916.]

That is not consent; it is its exact opposite. It is Newspeak, and it is taking this House and the people of the West Midlands for idiots. The unseemly and unconsidered rush to remove the elected police and crime commissioner is quite unacceptable. My amendment, if passed, would stop that and insist that any such changeover, involving, as this does, the complex issues of funding, staffing and other matters, must be made properly for the sake of both good government and common sense.

I beg leave to test the opinion of the House.

Ayes 133, Noes 125.

Division number 7 Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Report (8th Day) — Amendment 307A (to Amendment 307)

Aye: 131 Members of the House of Lords

No: 123 Members of the House of Lords

Aye: A-Z by last name


No: A-Z by last name


Amendment 307A agreed.

Amendment 307, as amended, agreed.