London Mayoral and Assembly Elections: A Breakdown
Thursday 6th May 2021 is the day Londoners will be able to vote for who they think should be their next Mayor. They will also vote for 25 Assembly Members to sit in the London Assembly. Together they make up Greater London Authority (also known as City Hall). Both are elected for a fixed term of 4 years and are accountable for the strategic running of Greater London.
Their responsibilities include:
Civil defence and fire services
Economic and wealth creation
The Mayor of London
The Mayor of London is the head of the Greater London Authority. The Mayor has a duty to set out plans and policies for London covering transport, planning and development, housing, economic development and regeneration, culture health inequalities and a range of environmental issues including climate change and air quality.
They also have various other duties in relation to culture and tourism, including responsibility for Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square. The role is also responsible for setting out the annual £18.4bn budget for the Greater London Assembly and set out the strategic direction for:
Transport for London (TfL)
Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC)
London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA)
The current mayor is Sadiq Khan who was elected on 9th May 2016. He succeeded (now current Prime Minister) Boris Johnson who served 2 terms as mayor from 2008-2016. The first-ever mayor of London was Ken Livingstone who was elected upon creation of the role in 2000 and also served 2 terms.
Current Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, Labour
The London Assembly
The London Assembly investigates important issues and press for changes to national, Mayoral or local policy. Assembly members are responsible for holding the Mayor to account by examining Mayoral strategies, decisions and actions to make sure they are in the public interest.
The London Assembly is made up of 25 Members - 11 represent the whole capital and 14 are elected by London’s constituencies. The 14 constituencies are made up of two or more local authorities, for example, Greenwich and Lewisham make up one constituency.
The Assembly also has the power to reject strategies and make changes to budgets when two-thirds of Assembly Members agree. The Mayor is also questioned by the Assembly 10 times a year at Mayor’s Question Time at City Hall.
The Previous Election
The last election was in May 2016 in which Labour candidate Sadiq Khan was elected Mayor of London with 57 per cent of the vote (1.3 million votes) and saw a turnout of 45.6 percent of an electorate of 5,739,011. He beat his closest rival - the Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith.
The Mayor of London is elected using the First Past the Post system if there are only 2 candidates. This system is very simple as the candidate with the most votes wins. If there are 3 or more candidates (which has been the case so far), then the Supplementary Vote (SV) system is used. The SV system allows voters to cast a first and second choice vote:
If a candidate receives more than half of all the first-choice votes, then they are elected.
If not, then the two candidates with the most first-choice votes go through to the second round. The one with the highest total of first and second choice votes wins.
Due to take place in May 2020, the election was postponed to Thursday 6th May 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Labour’s Sadiq Khan is running to secure a second term as Mayor. His closest rival is the Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey. Although, there are lots of other political and independent candidates running:
Sian Berry, Green Party
Luisa Porritt, Liberal Democrats
Dr Peter Gammons, UKIP
Mandu Reid, Woman’s Equality Party
Winston McKenzie, Unity in Action
Kam Balayev, Renew
Farah London, Independent
David Kurten, Independent
Charlie Mullins, Independent
Nims Obunge, Independent
Brian Rose, Independent
Rosalind Readhead, Independent
Count Binface, Independent
(Correct as of the 3rd of January 2021)
More candidates may come forward or some may fall away as we get closer to the election.
A YouGov poll with Queen Mary University of London on Mayoral Voting Intention found 51 per cent choose Sadiq Khan as their first preference. Shaun Bailey was second with 30 per cent and Sian Berry third with 9 per cent.
Figure 1: London Mayoral Election YouGov Poll 28th November
The London mayoral election, like all elections, is very important. However, with an average age of 35.6, London has a rather young population compared to the UK as a whole and so the decisions made by the mayor of London will have a direct impact on young people’s lives. We here at The Youth Vote encourage young people to not just engage with politics but also participate in elections and have your voices heard. If you are eligible to vote in London one of the best ways you can do this is by registering to vote, and then voting.
Register to vote here: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Matthew Esam, Policy and News Associate