The move was widely condemned by Labour politicians, although it was not unexpected.
It had already been announced that the Department for London would be among a range of quango and other Government cuts towards a goal of £6 billion of public spending economies this year.
The department was founded in 1994 under John Major’s Tory Government, and has continued to exist despite London getting an elected mayor and his City Hall office 10 years ago.
The loss of London’s department and its minister, its supporters argue, removes an important tier of administration for the capital. The move also goes against Cameron’s decision to give other major cities a minister to boost representation of the regions in Westminster.
Cameron wants to give his Old Etonian and Oxford chum Boris Johnson’s increased powers as Mayor of London, including responsibility for the Royal Parks (under the Culture department at present), and a range of added transport powers.
“London generates at least 18 per cent of the nation’s wealth, and it’s frankly ridiculous for this city not to have its own minister liaising between the mayor and the prime minister and rest of Whitehall,” said Jim Fitzpatrick, the former Labour London minister.
“It’s dead sneaky for David Cameron to slip this out. Whatever happened to open government?”