It was the penultimate day of the Localism Bill Committee today and we got on to discussing the clauses on London governance.
Among other things, the Bill would give the Mayor the power to designate Mayoral development areas. If the Mayor does so then as the Bill is currently drafted the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government must establish a Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) for that area and the Mayor may decide that the MDC is to be the local planning authority for that area. In other words, the Mayor could designate the whole of the borough of Croydon as a Mayoral development area and the Government would have to establish a MDC which could take over the Council's planning powers.
I should stress that the current Mayor has made it clear that he only envisages establishing one MDC to deal with the Olympic Park but it is possible to envisage an alternative Mayor (who could I be thinking of?) who would jump at the chance to take over the planning powers of outer London boroughs.
The Labour MP for Greenwich & Woolwich, Nick Raynsford, rightly pointed out that allowing the Mayor to take over local planning powers without any checks and balances isn't very localist. I spoke in support of the thrust of his amendments, though I didn't agree with the detail of what he proposed, and I am delighted that Ministers agreed to go away and come up with some appropriate safeguards.