More Uncontested City of London Council Seat Sham ‘Wins’: This Time For Peter Estlin, Jane Gowman & Vincent Keaveny

With a residential electorate barely large enough to make up a small ward on any normal London council, the City of London attempts to bridge the gap by providing undemocratic business votes to non-residents. By any reckoning there is no need to divide this local authority into 25 wards with 125 councillors. Two councillors ought be plenty to cover the residential population, while wards with virtually no residents and only a few hundred business voters are ripe targets for anyone interested in election rigging – if they are able to get nominated. Without connections to the legal and finance industries it is difficult to get nominated in many City wards, and so alarmingly often there are uncontested ‘elections’. Anyone with views at odds with the finance industry is unlikely to find 5 people on the register of voters in business vote dominated wards who would nominate them. Senior City councillors, or aldermen as they style themselves, are supposed to stand for re-election every six years – and three recently chose 18 December 2019 as their date to face a ballot box farce, in the unlikely event someone else would be both willing and able to get nominated. Aldermen seem particular prone to standing for re-election around holiday periods, giving the impression they are trying to avoid scrutiny.

Peter Estlin stepped down as Lord Mayor at the beginning of last month but it looks like City residents are stuck with this reactionary as a councillor for at least another six years – as his Coleman Street ward election is uncontested.
Fourteen months ago we blogged about Alison Gowman giving Emine Erdoğan – wife of the current repressive Turkish president – an award ‘in recognition of her humanitarian service’. Footnotes at the end of this post reproduced parts of a 2002 petition from Malcolm Matson to the UK Parliament published under the title Hearing of Petition from Mr Matson that detail Alison Gowman standing unopposed in the past in the Dowgate ward (which she will ‘win’ again unopposed later this month), and an analysis of how she obtained multiple votes in City of London council elections.
Vincent Keaveny looks all set to be a future Lord Mayor, although he came third out of three in this years rigged election for that post – so he’ll presumably take his turn after Tim Hailes gets the top job next year in yet another sham City of London ‘vote’. This month Keaveny is re-standing unopposed in the Farringdon Within ward – so he’s guaranteed to ‘win’ that one!

Incidentally both Keaveny and Gowman have worked at what is now known as DLA Piper*, which perhaps acts as another indication of how the anti-democratic business vote skews elections in the City of London well away from anything resembling a democratic process. There are an absurd number of people who come from remarkably similar places and with shared interests at the heart of the City’s political establishment. Ordinary folk don’t get a look in. Dick Whittington and His Cat is City of London propaganda. The real Richard Whittington who first became Lord Mayor in 1397 – chosen by King Richard II rather than elected – came from a highly privileged background; his father was Sir William Whittington.

It is, of course, high time the City of London – the UK’s last rotten borough – was democratically reformed.

The header shows Vincent Keaveny with ‘ward beadle’ Wilf Jones. Above we see Keaveny without the ward help.

* For example both can be found on the list of officers (view both current and resigned) for DLA Piper UK LLP on the Companies House website:

5 thoughts on “More Uncontested City of London Council Seat Sham ‘Wins’: This Time For Peter Estlin, Jane Gowman & Vincent Keaveny

  1. One of the next Aldermanic “elections” will be in Cripplegate with its substantial residential population. Presumably Alderman David Graves will stand again and anyone else wanting to stand only has to be under 70 and a Freeman of the City, although it would help being a Cripplegate resident as well.

    Meanwhile, David Graves has posted a copy of the letter sent to the Governors of CoL School for Girls in October by all the Cripplegate and Aldersgate members objecting to the expansion proposals. This follows the decision of the Governors to postpone their plans, allegedly pending the preparation by the new Head of a strategic plan for the School’s future. The real reason seems to be otherwise.


    1. Cripplegate is a ward where there is a diverse enough community that someone from outside the City of London establishment should be able to find people to nominate them… so I hope there is a real election… hopefully you can get a Labour candidate up for this one… Here at Reclaim we’d be tempted to find an Official Monster Raving Loony Party candidate prepared to run a campaign along the lines of Grave Matters: We Demand Votes For The Dead In The City of London. As we said in an earlier post: “The City of London is the only local authority in the UK to retain the business vote, and this gives the dead hand of finance control of the council while simultaneously depriving local residents of a proper democratic voice. If non-residents can vote in the City of London why not let the dead vote too? Of course, the potential number of dead voters is far larger than those who get the business vote, but that will make the contest fairer….”


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