The London mayor and members of the Greater London Assembly are now eligible for nomination to the European Union Committee of the Regions.
This follows the approval by peers of the Greater London Authority (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No 2) Order 2001 which, among other things, amends the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993. For the government, Lord Filkin said that while mayor Ken Livingstone, in consultation with the GLA, would make nominations to the Local Government Association for the one main place and the one alternate place for London on the Committee of the Regions, representatives could be any elected member within the London area. They did not have to be only from the GLA.
Lord Filkin explained the order was necessary to correct and amend the Greater London Authority Act 199. 'Nothing like this has been done before and it is almost inevitable that there will be a sequence of minor amendments, particularly because lawyers are anxious to ensure that matters are put beyond doubt', he added.
The Order also enables the GLA to send a member of staff other than a qualified solicitor to prosecute or defend proceedings in a magistrates' court and clarifies procedures for the GLA to enforce its powers to make by-laws in relation to Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square Gardens.
It also puts right an oversight during the passage of the 1999 Act.
The secretary of state has powers to direct local authorities to take steps to achieve European Union air quality obligations. It was intended to transfer that power of direction in London from the secretary of state to the mayor.
Instead, the GLA Act simply took the power away from the cabinet minister but did not deliver it to the mayor. The order delivers the original policy intention.
Hansard 2 Nov: Column 1639-1642