The City of London has never been embarrassed to disproportionately over-represent not just men but freemasons in its top posts, so it came as little surprise when the council’s website announced on 24 June 2019 that lodge members Chris Hayward and Michael Mainelli had been elected City of London sheriffs. The post of sheriff is one down from Lord Mayor and to get that top job one must first be a aldermanic sheriff, the post won by Mainelli, who as we have already discussed is a member of the Guildhall Lodge of freemasons like more than two-thirds of Lord Mayor’s of London since this organisation was established in 1905. Given such a massive over-representation of freemasons in top posts at the City of London, the fact the men only Guildhall Lodge and others are allow to meet for free and/or at subsidised rates on council premises is an equality issue, as we’ve discussed in numerous previous posts, since these ‘fraternities’ play a key role in maintaining a glass ceiling at the City of London council that prevents women getting a shot at top roles.
Hayward as we know is shameless and so few will be surprised the equally shameless Sir Michael Bear chaired his campaign. Along with their fellow councillor James Thomson, there remain unanswered questions about potential conflicts of interest as regards the planning permission these men voted in favour of when Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen development was given the green light on the site of Bernard Morgan House two years ago. The Guardian among others reported on this contentious issue:
The story follows a by-now-familiar plot. In May 2017 planning approval was given to Taylor Wimpey, despite strong opposition from local residents and businesses. During this process it emerged that the chair of the City’s planning and transportation committee, Chris Hayward, is a director of Indigo Planning, whose clients include Taylor Wimpey. Deputy chair James Thomson was formerly deputy chief financial officer and chief operations officer of Cushman and Wakefield, commercial property and real estate consultants, which marketed and sold Bernard Morgan House to Taylor Wimpey. The committee member and former lord mayor of London Sir Michael Bear was appointed chair of the planning consultancy Turley Associates – which also acts for Taylor Wimpey – a few weeks after planning approval was granted.
Developers are using culture as a Trojan horse in their planning battles by Anna Minton, The Guardian, 10 October 2017.
While like all City of London ‘votes’, the sheriff elections are undemocratic – common hall which rubber stamps these decisions is made up mostly of unelected livery club members. Likewise the two higher chambers at the City of London council – Court of Common Council and Court of Aldermen – are eighty percent elected on undemocratic business votes. So while we believe the office of sheriff – like the City of London council – should be abolished, we welcome Hayward’s recent election victory because it makes him more visible, and makes it harder for him to dodge questions about Indigo Planning, Taylor Wimpey and conflicts of interest on the council’s Planning Committee when he chaired it. Likewise since both the sheriffs elect are freemasons, we trust this will make it harder for Edward Lord of the Standards Committee to continue evading the equality issue this raises yet again.
The header shows Chris Hayward and Michael with what the latter has captioned on this photograph as their ‘consorts”…
City of London Press release about the sheriff election:
The annual Election of Sheriffs of the City of London has been held at Guildhall’s Common Hall today (24 June 2019).
Michael Mainelli and Christopher Hayward were elected and will take office on Friday 27 September. They succeed Alderman Vincent Keaveny and Elizabeth Green.
Born in the USA and educated at Harvard University, Trinity College Dublin, and the London School of Economics, Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli has worked in finance and technology in the City since 1984, was elected Alderman for the Ward of Broad Street in 2013, and is Immediate Past Master of the World Traders. His responsibilities have included serving as Trustee of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, Morden College, Christ’s Hospital, and Gresham College, where he is also Emeritus Professor of Commerce.
Christopher Hayward, who was elected to the City Corporation’s Common Council in 2013, is the former Chairman of the City Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee, and a member of the City Livery Committee and Court of the Guild of Freemen. He has business experience in property, infrastructure, and planning and strategic communication. His other responsibilities include Trustee of Barts Hospital Guild and Housing the Homeless Central Fund.
The office of Sheriff, a pre-requisite to becoming Lord Mayor of the City of London, is one of the oldest in existence and dates back to the Middle Ages.
The Sheriffs’ modern-day duties include supporting the Lord Mayor in his or her civic duties and serving, both, at home and abroad, as ambassadors for the UK-based financial and professional services industry by promoting the UK as a place in which to do business.
They also support Her Majesty’s Judges at the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) in promoting the importance of the English rule of law to businesses, schools, diplomats, charities, the City Livery, and leading arts figures.
The new Sheriffs will hold the position for one year.
The Central Criminal Court, where the Sheriffs work and reside, is recognised as the most famous criminal court in the world and is owned and managed by the City of London Corporation.
City elects Sheriffs of London for 2019 – 2020, London, 24 June 2019 by Anon: https://web.archive.org/web/20190627234350/https://news.cityoflondon.gov.uk/city-elects-sheriffs-of-london-for-2019–2020/
Chris Hayward’s election campaign on his homepage: https://web.archive.org/web/20190627225513/https://www.chrishayward.city/
Sir Michael Bear’s message of support for Hayward as chair of his campaign: https://web.archive.org/web/20190627231257/https://www.chrishayward.city/copy-of-supporters
Developers are using culture as a Trojan horse in their planning battles by Anna Minton, The Guardian, 10 October 2017: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/10/developers-culturehousing-luxury-homes-art-artists