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Greater London Authority Act 1999

Section 1: The Authority and Section 2: Membership

34.Sections 1 and 2 and Schedule 1 provide for the establishment of the GLA. The GLA will be made up of a directly elected Mayor and a separately elected Assembly of twenty five members. The Mayor and Assembly together will have a corporate legal identity as the Authority.

35.The Assembly will be elected under the additional member system. Fourteen Assembly members will represent constituencies, each made up of two or three complete London boroughs. The Secretary of State will decide the boundaries and names of these constituencies, on the basis of recommendations made by the Local Government Commission for England (the LGC). Eleven Assembly members (known as "London members") will be elected under the additional member system for the whole of Greater London.

36.The election of the Authority as a whole will take place once every four years (the "ordinary election"). There will be an election for the Mayor and one for the London members plus elections in each constituency for the constituency member. The term of office of those elected at an ordinary election will run from the second day after the last declaration to the second day following the last declaration at the next ordinary election.

37.Schedule 1 contains provisions on the Assembly constituencies. In May 1998, using powers contained in the Greater London Authority (Referendum) Act 1998, the Secretary of State directed the LGC to produce recommendations for the boundaries of the Assembly constituencies. The LGC submitted its recommendations on 30 November 1998. The Minister for London announced in Parliament on 19 January 1999 (Hansard Col 726) that the Government have decided to accept the Commission's recommendations and that, subject to the passage of the Act, they would be implemented by secondary legislation after Royal Assent.

38.Section 2(4) empowers the Secretary of State to implement these recommendations by order.

39.Schedule 1 also contains provisions to allow for future reviews of the constituency boundaries. Detailed ground rules state that there should always be fourteen constituencies, composed of combinations of two or more contiguous whole London Boroughs, and that the number of electors in each constituency should be as similar to each other as is reasonably practicable.

40.The Schedule also lays down a basic structure for future reviews of the Assembly constituencies. Reviews of the constituencies will be at the discretion of the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will commission the LGC to carry out a review, and may produce guidance that the LGC will have to take into account; the LGC will carry out its review, and produce recommendations. The Secretary of State will have powers to implement these recommendations.

41.The Schedule provides for two different scenarios in which a review of the constituencies might occur.

  • The Secretary of State might simply order the LGC to carry out a full review of the assembly constituencies; or

  • Changes to the boundaries of the London boroughs might necessitate consequent changes to the assembly constituency boundaries (as these are based on the London boroughs). Part II of the Local Government Act 1992 gives the Secretary of State powers to direct the LGC to carry out a review of borough boundaries. When the LGC produces its report on such a review, it will have to indicate the impact of any recommended changes to borough boundaries on the Assembly constituencies.

42.There are three possible outcomes here:

  • The LGC may recommend radical changes to London borough boundaries (such as the abolition of existing boroughs or the creation of new boroughs). In this case, the LGC might recommend to the Secretary of State that a full review of the assembly constituencies is needed to take account of this. The Secretary of State would then commission the LGC to carry out a full review of the constituency boundaries.

  • The LGC may recommend changes to borough boundaries that are not so radical as to make the existing constituencies redundant, for example, a recommendation to alter a borough boundary that was also a boundary between two constituencies. In this case, the LGC might include in its report a recommendation for consequential changes to the constituency boundaries.

  • The LGC may recommend that changes to the borough boundaries do not require any changes to the constituency boundaries.

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Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


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