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Short Title

Volume 301: debated on Monday 24 November 1997

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This is a very important clause. It says that it is the short title, but the Bill should not, by any definition, have a short title. Had we known what the Government were going to say in Committee, we would have sought to amend the short title to read that the Act should be cited as the "Greater London Authority (Referendum), You Can Have Any Choice You Like For Democracy in London Provided It's the One We Give You and You Won't Have Any Other Alternative Act 1997."

The serious point is that it is disappointing that, at the end of the Committee stage, the Government are still wedded to giving the people of London only the Government's choice. We are grateful, however, that the Minister conceded that that is only a matter of pragmatism, and that it would be acceptable if two questions that do the job could be formulated. We have already started work on that. I am sure that the Minister is looking forward, as are others, to the two-question alternative. I am sure that it will be persuasive and that he will find it impossible not to support it.

I trust that the hon. Gentleman has not made this point simply because he neglected to table an amendment and now regrets it. His additions would not have made this a short title but an unnecessarily long one. Clause 13 specifies that the Bill, if enacted,

"may be cited as the Greater London Authority (Referendum) Act 1997."
It is a matter of convenience. The proposed title is short and appropriate to the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 13 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill reported, without amendment.