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20/06/07
Tories Try to Ban Livingstone from Office
- House of Lords vote to make Mayor step down in 2008

Tories Try to Ban Livingstone from Office THE CONSERVATIVE Party majority in the unelected House of Lords voted yesterday to end Ken Livingstone's stint as Mayor of London.

By a vote of 177 to 159, the House of Lords passed a measure that would limit any Mayor's tenure to two terms of four years. Livingstone's second term runs out in 2008, when he had planned to stand for a third.

The term limit measure was attached to a Labour government-backed Bill that is to hand more powers to the Mayor and the Tory case is that the Mayor's position will be too powerful to countenance one person being in charge for more than eight years.

"The office of mayor now in this country is the nearest thing we have to a dictator," said Tory Baroness Hanham in the Lords. "There is very little that can stop the Mayor doing what he wants to do."

Livingstone, who consistently scores highly in polls, countered that the move was a sign of desperation in Tory ranks over the party's failure to come up with a serious candidate for next year's election.

"This is further evidence that [Tory leader] David Cameron has no confidence in his party's candidates for mayor," said Livingstone. "It is up to Londoners, not parliamentarians, to decide who is mayor."

The Tory measure will need to be ratified by the House of Commons, where Labour's majority is likely to see it quashed, but on the other hand Livingstone has many enemies inside his own party.



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