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'THE INVISIBLE MAYOR OF LONDON'

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Ken Livingstone's election as the first elected mayor of London was a stinging defeat for the government, says The ...
Ken Livingstone's election as the first elected mayor of London was a stinging defeat for the government, says The Observer, and in a news feature (p12) examines whether he has lived up to his promises.

The pledge by the prime minister last week 'to a startled house of commons' that street crime in London would be 'brought under control' by the end of September took most by surprise. Neither the mayor or the Metropolitan Police Authority had been consulted about it. Two years into the mayoralty that was supposed to give the capital full domination over its own affairs - and provide a model for other British authorities - central government seemed able to bypass the mayor altogether.

The mayor may have produced crates full of strategies and reports but, says the newspaper, his impact has been so slight as to raise real questions over who is in control of the city. London government specialist at the London School of Economics, Tony Travers, commented: 'The powers made available to the mayor by the Act that created the GLA are certainly limited, but even by those standards Ken Livingstone has underperformed'.

Trevor Phillips, Labour chairman of the Greater London Assembly, said Mr Livingstone was probably the best politician of his generation, but he had not given up the oppositionists stance, spending too much time telling government it would all be much better if he had free rein.

'However much he blames the government, he's still the mayor, not some opposition MP. It's still his job to sort it out', added Mr Phillips.
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