There’s something a little bit distasteful about an unelected House of Lords (which recently rejected every option for the inclusion of directly elected members in their chamber) seeking to impose a term limit on the office of Mayor of London.
Just as with the threatened suspension of the Mayor last year it’s not for unelected and unaccountable appointees to determine who should hold public office. As Damian Hockney, Leader of the One London Party asked yesterday, “Why should a good mayor be thrown out after eight years (or even a bad one if there is no better alternative)?”
Baroness Hanham told the Lords “There is very little that can stop the mayor doing what he wants to do.” – the Baroness is wrong, what stops the Mayor “doing what he wants” is the need to be re-elected which, under the current preference system, requires the broadest coalition of voters to achieve.
This amendment may not be on the same scale as Conservative’s abolition of the GLC or Tony Blair’s botched attempts to block Livingstone’s candidacy in 2000 but it’s a political gift which allows him to perpetuate the idea of a politician so feared by his opponents that they’re prepared to legislate him out of the democratic process.
Mayor Livingstone’s claim that the move suggests the Tories “have decided they can’t win next year’s mayoral election through fair means so now they have resorted to changing the law to prevent a fair choice” should serve as a warning to David Cameron not to support the amendment when the bill returns to the Commons.