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SETBACK FOR LONDON MAYOR POLL

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Plans to stage a referendum on the creation of an elected mayor and assembly for London suffered a suprise setback ...
Plans to stage a referendum on the creation of an elected mayor and assembly for London suffered a suprise setback in the house of lords yesterday, reports the Financial Times (p9).

The government was defeated by 128 votes to 122 on an amendment requiring ministers to publish detailed plans for the new London administration eight weeks before the referendum.

Deputy prime minister John Prescott, who was said to be irritated by the defeat, said: 'I fully intend to go back to the commons and restore the right of Londoners to vote in a referendum in May this year.'

Conservatives who voted against the government said the result, 'protected the rights of the electorate', who needed to know exactly what they were voting on in a referendum.
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