Local Government Reform: Greater London — [Stewart Hosie in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:13 am on 17th October 2018.

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Photo of Jake Berry Jake Berry Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 10:13 am, 17th October 2018

I congratulate my hon. Friend Andrew Rosindell on securing this debate, which is both hugely important for his constituents and nationally important in the wider framework of devolution. It is very timely and deeply appropriate given the situation we find ourselves in.

The debate has been about the future, but let me dwell for a moment on the history of local government reform in London, which to some extent put us in this situation. I do not have to tell my hon. Friend, who is proud to have been born and bred in Essex, about the 1960 Herbert commission, but it is worth focusing briefly on the Greater London Council years. We can learn a lot from our history. During those years, when the current shadow Chancellor was chairman of the finance committee, what we used to refer to as “loony left” politics came to the fore. Of course, that is now mainstream Labour politics. As someone from the city of Liverpool, I was interested to see the Labour party, at its conference in that city, move back to endorsing the views of Derek Hatton: that councils should set illegal budgets and that there should be a general strike.