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Peer spurns Mayor Ken's offer

LIBERAL Democrats education spokesman Lord Tope will be swapping the comfy benches of the Upper House for a seat in the new Greater London Assembly, following his election last week.

But even before he moves down river to the soon-to-be-built GLA building by Tower Bridge, he is already making waves.

Never usually a man to refuse a job, the former MP and current leader of Sutton Council turned down an invitation from Mayor Ken Livingstone to head the fire and civil defence authority saying it was no in line with Liberal Democrat priorities.

Instead he is angling for a role in equality and social justice. But whatever his eventual duties, it is unlikely Lord Tope - the man who once drafted legislation outlawing rogue hot dog sellers in the capital - has bitten off more than he can chew.

Given that one of his other jobs is as a member of the European Union committee of the regions, he probably knows that in Spanish, to live "al tope" means to live life to the full - and with relish.

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