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EDITIONS
London Referendum Thursday, 9 April, 1998, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Conservative proposals for London
Tory logo
Hague says it's an "exciting" time to live in the capital
Despite their initial decision to campaign for a 'No' vote in May's referendum to decide if the capital will have a new London-wide authority and mayor, the Conservatives will now be voting 'Yes' alongside both Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

But the Conservative change of heart does not represent a complete U-turn. The Conservative leader William Hague says the policy reversal is a result of the demands of Conservative supporters in the capital who want a mayor.

A conservative 'yes'

Speaking at the launch of the Conservative 'Yes' campaign Mr Hague said: " Everywhere I have gone in London since the General Election, I have met people - many of them Conservatives - who want a London mayor.

"I have listened and one of the first policies I changed when I was elected leader was our policy on mayor for London. In May we want Londoner's to vote 'yes' to a mayor."

No GLC Mark 2

The Tories are in favour of the Government's plans for a mayor but have retained their opposition to a new London-wide authority fearing it may become a re-incarnation of the old Greater London Council (GLC) which they abolished in 1986.

Mr Hague committed himself to preventing the resurrection of the GLC saying, "the Conservative Party will fight tooth and nail to stop this happening."

The Conservatives, like the Liberal Democrats, have also strongly criticised the phrasing of the referendum question itself. They believe the Government's decision to put the two separate issues of a mayor and a city-wide authority into one question limits the choice of voters.

Mr Hague argues that if the capital has a new mayor why should it need a London-wide authority as well? But despite its unease on the phrasing of the question the party has come out, on balance, in favour of a 'Yes' vote.

See also:

21 Feb 98 | Politics
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