A petition calling for the whole of the UK to get to vote for the Mayor of London has been picked up by parts of the media as a late silly season story. It appeared in the Evening Standard on 8 September, the Londonist on 10 September, and City Matters on 12 September 2018. The point being repeatedly made is that local democracy means local people voting for local politicians on the basis of one person, one vote. While that’s what happens in most of London, the business vote in the City of London means that people who live outside this local authority area are given votes that decide 80% of its council seats. While the undemocratic electoral set up in the City of London parallels ridiculous calls for the whole of the UK to get to vote for the Mayor of London, that is not something those lampooning the Mayoral vote petition are pointing out.
While it would be best if the office of Lord Mayor of London was abolished, everyone in the UK getting to vote for the Lord Mayor would be no worse that the current system. Common Hall is the City of London council assembly where unelected members of livery companies – who overwhelmingly don’t live within local authority boundaries – get to chose the Lord Mayor and a number of other officials to represent themselves rather than residents. Moving on, here’s City Matters on the Mayor of London vote petition:
A petition calling for all UK citizens to be allowed a vote in the next London mayoral elections has been branded “silly” and “farcical”.
The petition, started by Lorraine Davis, claims that voters outside of London should have their say in 2020 because the Mayor of London’s decisions have a “roll-on effect” on the rest of the UK.
London politicians have criticised the petition.
Len Duvall, leader of the London Assembly Labour group, said: “This is a silly petition that does not stand-up to scrutiny and betrays a misunderstanding of the role of the mayor and how our electoral system works.
“It’s no wonder it has only so far attracted a limited number of signatures.”
The petition has so far just over 6,600 signatures but needs at least 10,000 for the government to respond and 100,000 for it to be debated in Parliament.
Mr Duvall added: “This petition would also remove the democratic right of Londoners to remain the sole voice when choosing who should represent them and work towards their best interests. It’s farcical and unworthy of any more attention.”
Andrew Boff, London Assembly member hoping to be the Conservative candidate at the next mayoral elections, was also quick to criticise the petition.
Mr Boff said: “Not a single politician in London will support this petition.
“If people want to vote in the London elections they can move here, that’s how democracy works.
“It has nothing to do with people in the rest of the UK, just like what happens in Hull, for example, has nothing to do with me.”
Mayoral election petition labelled ‘farcical’ by London chiefs by Kate Oglesby, City Matters, 12th September 2018.
Andrew Boff needs to apply the logic of his observation ‘(i)f people want to vote in the London elections they can move here, that’s how democracy works,’ to the City of London. As we’ve made clear most of those who get to vote in the City of London don’t actually live within this local authority’s boundaries and have votes elsewhere too. That simply isn’t democratic. The petition for the whole of the UK to get to vote for the Mayor of London has led some of those who wouldn’t dream of criticising business votes in the City to point up exactly what’s wrong with them. So let’s get rid of the unfair and undemocratic business vote system once and for all! DEMOCRACY NOW!
Mayoral election petition labelled ‘farcical’ by London chiefs by Kate Oglesby: https://www.citymatters.london/mayoral-election-petition-slammed/