As I type the GLA Bill is being read a second time in Parliament. For as long as time permits I’m going to comment on the debate as it happens.
While I was dining (!) the Bill passed second reading with a majority of 169 after the LibDems voted with the Government.
The next step is committee stage. You can track the passage of the bill via the Leader of the Commons very own website.
19.40 – Sorry to the 3 people enjoying this (!) but a pre-arranged festive dinner guest has arrived. We’ll be back with the result of the vote.
19.14 The umpteenth MP has wrongly referred to the Greater London Assembly.
It’s worrying that the same people who want the veto on our capacity to go to war and who insist on making the decision to renew Trident can’t open their mouths without conflating the phrases ‘Greater London Authority’ and ‘London Assembly’.
19.07 Somehow (and unshockingly) Labour MPs have managed to bring Dame Shirley Porter into the debate. It was only a matter of time.
18.39 Someone’s reminded Brake that it’s 2006 so he’s moved on to repeating his three tests. Lynne F looks like shes in danger of falling off her seat in boredom. Like me she’s possibly wondering why she’d not delivering the LibDem’s response. (EDIT: More on this here)
18.34 Tom Brake for the LibDems has opted to discuss 1999 and the 2000 elections. Sitting behind him former AM Lynne Featherstone looks bored and bemused.
18.25 Bob Neill asks if the Mayor as a one person planning authority should have such strong powers and whether there was a need for greater scrutiny by the Assembly.
18.13 Nick Raynsford bats away a Tory suggestion that any changes to the bill should wait until Ken Livingstone is no longer Mayor.
18.08 Lait suggests the bill is the price paid for Ken Livingstone standing as a Labour candidate in 2004.
17.59 Lait announces that she will be asking her backbenchers to vote against the bill.
17.53 Well it had to happen, to mummers of support Lait makes reference to Ken Livingstone’s “foreign policy”. Everyone was too polite to point out that it’s probably closer to the views of many Londoners than the one espoused by Blair and Beckett.
17.45 Lait has allowed herself to get into a peeing contest over whether Labour or Tory councils provide more social housing. It’s not clear what the exchange has to do with the Mayor but she seems to be enjoying herself.
17.40 Jacqui Lait claims everyone in London is unhappy at the Bill. I wonder what research she’s done to stand up this claim?
17.39 Cooper ends her initial comments by needlessly barracking the near silent opposition benches
17.36 Health and the scrutiny role of the Asssmbly get an even briefer mention for “non-binding” confirmation hearings for Mayoral appointments.
17.34 Environmental issues are so important that the Minister addresses them in less than one minute. Jeremy Corbyn asks if the Mayor should have greater power over waste management.
17.31 Cooper has entered ‘Ruth Kelly’ mode using phrases such as ‘very, very, very’ in a voice which suggests a parent talking to a slightly slow child.
17.23 LibDem MP Andrew Stunell asks who the Mayor will be accountable under the new plans (!) In answering Cooper commits the well known media error of referring to the London Assembly as the GLA. A not very impressive exchange which makes you wonder about the knowledge of our MPs on issues they debate.
17.15 The important issue of The London Plan and planning have been turned into a rather dreary exchange which is rescued by Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey who asks a proper question about ensuring the Mayor’s decisions on planning are transparent.
YV announces that the Mayor won’t be able to intervene in planning issues at the start and will have to wait until the Council’s view is announced.
17.11 YV manages to turn a question about Blair’s embarrassing u-turn on Ken Livingston into a slightly weak attack on the Tory failure to find a candidate.
17.10 Yvette Cooper is using some well rehearsed briefing to pepper her speech with claims of Tory flip-flops. Poor Roger Evans is having his recent comments on bus passes twisted once more.