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LIB DEMS FAVOUR STRONG ASSEMBLY

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The Liberal Democrats will support the second reading of the Greater London Authority Bill but will put forward ame...
The Liberal Democrats will support the second reading of the Greater London Authority Bill but will put forward amendments to increase the power of the assembly and changing its electoral system.

The party would like to transfer power from the mayor to the assembly. 'The assembly will be the real democratic body because it will represent a wider range of interests,' a spokesman said. Liberal Democrats originally proposed that the mayor should be elected by the assembly, but now accept that direct mayoral elections will happen.

They accused Labour of being 'too timid' in allowing the secretary of state a veto over the GLA's policies and budget levels. Liberal Democrats would prefer a regional government with tax-varying powers similar to the future Scottish parliament. The party will also seek to give the GLA power over further education and health.

The party proposes changing the methods of election to the single transferable vote for the assembly and the alternative vote for the mayor.

Liberal Democrat London spokesman Simon Hughes, who has hinted that he might stand for the position of mayor, said: 'In London it is time for the people to take over.'
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