We return to the theme we were discussing earlier about the Bill allowing flexibility as to what arrangements can be put in place in particular areas. Of course it is desirable that authorities should be able to reach complete agreement among themselves about what the new constitutional arrangements should be, and that the proposals they put forward reflect that. We have to accept, however, that sometimes it may not be possible.
I hope I can reassure my hon. Friend by saying that there are safeguards to protect the interests of individual authorities. The Secretary of State will want to take into account the views of affected authorities in deciding whether to make the necessary secondary legislation to implement the proposals for change that areas bring forward. Indeed, the Bill requires her to consult them on any draft order that she introduces. She would also have to be satisfied that the order is likely to improve the exercise of statutory transport functions or the effectiveness and efficiency of transport within the area concerned. Moreover, in making an order, the Secretary of State must have regard to the need to reflect the identities and interests of local communities. We are trying to strike a balance between flexibility and ensuring there are safeguards for individual local authorities.