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GOVERNMENT ACCUSED OF NEUTERING LONDON MAYOR IN THE SMALLPRINT

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Opposition parties claim clauses in the Greater London Authority Bill will curtail the power of the new mayor of Lo...
Opposition parties claim clauses in the Greater London Authority Bill will curtail the power of the new mayor of London to make decisions and raise revenue, reports the Evening Standard.

One of the clauses states that environment secretary John Prescott would have the power to stop the mayor in their tracks if the government disapproved with their actions.

A spokeswoman at the Department of Transport, Environment and the Regions, said: 'The Bill is framework legislation and, as is quite normal, it is designed to cover any situation which may arise in the medium to long term. We will be considering amendments.'

Ken Livingstone, a prospective candidate for the job, claimed the powers would not be used against a mayor who had the 'moral mandate of five million London voters'.

He said: 'We could get a judicial review of any decision by the secretary of state that was unreasonable or damaging to London. They can't just play silly buggers - they've got to do what's in London's best interests.

'If I was mayor, I would have no intention of getting into rows with the government. I would get consensus between the mayor, the assembly, the local boroughs and the government first.

'I'm completely relaxed about this - these are powers that just won't be used. The government has had the power for 30 years to step in and run social services in any borough and they've never done it.'

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