Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tory Plan Would Mean End for Mayor, Says Ken; ELECTION 2005 HOWARD PLEDGES TO GIVE LONDON ASSEMBLY MORE POWER

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Tory Plan Would Mean End for Mayor, Says Ken; ELECTION 2005 HOWARD PLEDGES TO GIVE LONDON ASSEMBLY MORE POWER

Article excerpt

Byline: JASON BEATTIE;PAUL WAUGH

KEN LIVINGSTONE today said that Tory plans for London would effectively mean the abolition of the Mayor's post.

Mr Livingstone hit out after the Conservatives announced they would boost the powers of the London Assembly to clip the Mayor's wings.

Under the plans, only half the Assembly would be needed to block a mayoral budget. At present it takes a two-thirds majority to do so.

With more than 50 per cent of the Assembly members in non-Labour parties, the move would shift the balance of power in the capital decisively against Mr Livingstone.

He said that the system would cripple any mayoralty.

Mr Livingstone added: "It would give to the London Assembly the right to overturn the Mayor's budget by a simple majority and to change mayoral strategies by a simple majority.

"This would in fact replace the Mayor by a system of council government, returning London to the ineffectualness, delay and indecision of the past."

The proposals form part of the Conservatives' Manifesto for London, which also promises to bring "New York-style policing" to the capital if the Tories win the election.

The capital would benefit from 8,500 extra officers and the Mayor would be given more control over policing.

The manifesto also sets out plans to improve transport, reform secondary schools and grant greater freedoms to the local councils.

In his foreword, Michael Howard praises London for its dynamism but says no city can remain great when crime is out of control.

To improve policing in the capital, the Conservatives promise to scrap the Metropolitan Police Authority and transfer its executive powers to the Mayor.

The manifesto says: "The example of New York, under Rudi Giuliani, shows how crime can be cut in a major city.

But we need more police officers, neighbourhood policing and proper accountability. …

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