Like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ken Livingstone's 'political death' (when he got kicked out the Labour party we mean) seems only to have made him more powerful. First he became Mayor of London, then he went back to the 'dark side' (yes, we're aware we're stretching this analogy now), and now the government that once spurned him has proposed he should be given 'major new powers'.
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has today launched its consultation paper which suggest giving the GLA more control "on key strategic issues affecting the capital".
What this means exactly is that Ken may be handed control over housing, planning and waste disposal; politicians could be allowed to sit on the board of Transport for London; the London Assembly could block policies if a two thirds majority objects; and, perhaps most importantly, Ken could become chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority (but he won't get the power to appoint the Commissioner).
As you would expect there has been some cries of discontent from the LibDems and the Tories who feel that this kind of decentralisation may make Ken less accountable, but we won't find out the real extent of the changes until the end of the consultation period in February (the new powers are due to come into effect in the Spring of 2006).
The consultation paper is avaialable to read here.